Archives for category: Sean McVay

The end is near.

The season began in Foxboro with the New England Patriots raising another banner and getting their rings and ends in Seattle as the Seahawks and 49ers decide who will be NFC West champs.

When the final game of the 2019 NFL regular season comes to an end in the Pacific Northwest, there will be 12 teams that will continue their season and make their way to the post-season.

As for the other 20 teams? They’ll be making changes in their rosters and coaching staffs. Monday will NOT be a good day to be a head coach in the NFL if your team doesn’t make the playoffs. For teams that won’t be playing in the post-season, lockers will be cleaned out and those teams will be second-guessed and picked over like the bones of a Christmas Turkey.

For those 12 that are still standing, it’s their second season with one twist.

Win. Advance to the next round.

Lose. Your next game is in September of 2020.

when the Super Bowl comes to an end in Miami in February, one team will be holding a Lombardi Trophy.

There’s still football left for this Sunday, though. All the games this week are rematches, which makes some of them for all the marbles. It’s a chance for the teams that won the first time to prove that the first time was not a fluke, while the losers are looking for revenge and a chance to knock a team out of the post-season party. Think of it as football’s answer to Dirty Santa without the spiked egg nog.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: Baltimore defeated Cleveland, 31-15, to clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Ravens are the number one seed in the AFC for first time in franchise history.

With their 23-20 win at Tampa Bay on Saturday, Houston clinched their second-consecutive AFC South division title.

Minnesota clinched a playoff berth for the second time in the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams’ loss at San Francisco on Saturday night. Green Bay can clinch the NFC North division title with a victory on Monday.

On Saturday, New England defeated Buffalo 24-17, to clinch their 11th-consecutive AFC East division title, the most consecutive division titles won by one team in NFL history.

Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota and San Francisco have each qualified for the postseason after missing the playoffs last season. From 1990-2019 – a streak of 30 consecutive years – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas had 12 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 38-28 victory at Tennessee.

Thomas has 145 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (143 in 2002) for the most receptions in a single season in NFL history. Thomas, who leads the NFL with 1,688 receiving yards this season, has 5,475 receiving yards in his first four seasons and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (5,396) for the most receiving yards in a player’s first four seasons in league annals.

Baltimore rushed for 243 yards in their Week 16 win at Cleveland. The Ravens are the seventh team since 1970 and first since the 1978 Kansas City Chiefs (eight) and 1978 New England Patriots (11) with at least eight games of 200-or-more rushing yards in a single season. Baltimore has 3,073 rushing yards in 2019 and joined the 1978 New England Patriots (3,165 rushing yards) and 1973 Buffalo Bills (3,088) as the only teams with at least 3,000 rushing yards in a single season in league annals.

With quarterback Lamar Jackson (1,206 rushing yards) and running back Mark Ingram (1,018), the Ravens are the seventh team in NFL history and first since the 2009 Carolina Panthers (Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams) to have two players with at least 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.

Indianapolis running back Nyheim Hines recorded punt return touchdowns of 84 and 71 yards in the Colts’ 38-6 win against Carolina. Hines is the fifth player with at least two punt return touchdowns of 70-or-more yards in a single game in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Christiansen (November 22, 1951) as well as Darrien Gordon (November 9, 1997), Leroy Irvin (October 11, 1981) and Eric Metcalf (October 24, 1993).

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had 15 receptions and 173 scrimmage yards (119 receiving, 54 rushing) on Sunday.

McCaffrey has 109 receptions in 2019, surpassing his total in 2018 (107) for the most catches in a single season by a running back in NFL history and became the first running back in league annals with multiple career seasons of at least 100 receptions. McCaffrey has nine games with at least 150 scrimmage yards this season and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1999 and 2001) and Chris Johnson (2009) as the only players with at least nine such games in a single season in NFL history.

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones passed for 352 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.1 rating in the teams’ 41-35 overtime victory at Washington. Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a single game in NFL history. Jones, who also had four touchdowns passes in both Week 8 and Week 10, is the third rookie quarterback with at least three games of four-or-more touchdown passes in league annals, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (1961) and DeShaun Watson (2017).

Giants running back Saquon Barkley totaled a career-high 279 scrimmage yards (189 rushing, 90 receiving) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Week 16 victory. Barkley is the fifth player with at least 275 scrimmage yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game since 1970, joining Priest Holmes (Week 13, 2001 and Week 12, 2002), Chris Johnson (Week 2, 2009), Herschel Walker(Week 15, 1986) and Delvin Williams (Week 9, 1976).

Barkley also joined Billy Cannon (December 10, 1961), Delvin Williams (November 7, 1976) and Priest Holmes (November 24, 2002) as the only players in NFL history with at least 175 rushing yards, 90 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a single game.

Washington running back Adrian Peterson rushed for a touchdown on Sunday. Peterson has 111 career rushing touchdowns and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton (110) for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in NFL history.

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones had 10 receptions for 166 yards in the Falcons’ 24-12 win over Jacksonville. Jones, appearing in his 125th career game, has 12,047 receiving yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (142 games) as the fastest player to reach 12,000 career receiving yards in NFL history. Jones registered his 15th career game with at least 150 receiving yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (30 games), Lance Alworth (17), Terrell Owens (17) and Don Maynard (15), as well as Calvin Johnson (15) as the only players with at least 15 such games in league annals.

Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones recorded four sacks and two forced fumbles in the Cardinals’ 27-13 win at Seattle. Jones, who had 17 sacks in 2017, has a career-high 19 sacks this season and joined J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15), Elvis Dumervil (2009 and 2014), Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (2001 and 2003) and DeMarcus Ware (2008 and 2010) as the only players with at least 17 sacks in multiple seasons since 2000.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz had four receptions in the Eagles’ 17-9 win against Dallas and has 525 receptions during his seven-year NFL career, surpassing Jason Witten (523) for the most catches by a tight end in his first seven seasons in league annals.

Miami rookie defensive tackle Christian Wilkins had his first-career touchdown reception in the Dolphins’ 38-35 overtime win against Cincinnati. Wilkins joins William “The Refrigerator” Perry (November 3, 1985) as the only rookie defensive linemen to record a receiving touchdown in the Super Bowl era.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week has featured an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a match-up of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated the San Francisco-Seattle game as the NFL 100 Game of the Week because the division rivals engaged in an epic NFC Championship Game on January 19, 2014. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 23-17, to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII after overcoming an early 10-0 deficit. In the third quarter, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch scored on a 40-yard run to knot the game at 10-10. After Anquan Boldin caught a 26-yard touchdown from Colin Kaepernick to vault San Francisco back on top, 17-10, Doug Baldwin returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards to set up a Stephen Hauschka field goal. In the fourth quarter, QB Russell Wilson and WR Jermaine Kearse connected on 4th-and-7 for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give Seattle its first lead at 20-17. The Seahawks used three fourth-quarter takeaways – a Michael Bennett fumble recovery (forced by a Cliff Avril sack) and interceptions by Kam Chancellor and Malcom Smith, with an athletic assist from Richard Sherman – to seal the victory.

Five teams remain in contention for two remaining playoff berths. Six clubs will fight for three remaining first-round byes. Home-field advantage and two division titles are up for grabs in the NFC. All 16 games are division contests and, with one week to go, there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV.

Including 2019 with the Buffalo, Green Bay, Minnesota and San Francisco, since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990 – a streak of 30 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

It’s all on the line in Week 17. Ten of the 12 playoff teams have been determined. Six of the eight divisions have been clinched and there’s still plenty to play for in Week 17.

In the AFC, five teams have already punched their tickets to the postseason: Baltimore (13-2, AFC North and home-field advantage), Buffalo (10-5, playoff berth), Houston (10-5, AFC South), Kansas City (11-4, AFC West) and New England (12-3, AFC East). The Bills are locked in as the number five seed in the post-season.

Oakland (7-8), Pittsburgh (8-7) and Tennessee (8-7) are vying for the final AFC Wild Card berth, while the Chiefs and Patriots are fighting for the AFC’s lone remaining first-round bye.

In the NFC, five teams have locked up playoff spots: Green Bay (12-3, NFC North), Minnesota (10-5, playoff berth), New Orleans (12-3, NFC South), San Francisco (12-3, playoff berth) and Seattle (11-4, playoff berth). Minnesota is locked in as the six seed in the post-season.

San Francisco and Seattle play on Sunday Night Football. The winner captures the NFC West and possibly home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, while the loser enters the playoffs with an NFC Wild Card berth.

In the NFC, the road to Super Bowl LIV in Miami will go through one of four cities, as Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle all have an opportunity to earn the conference’s top seed on Sunday.

Philadelphia needs a win at the New York Giants to lock up the NFC East. A Giants win opens the door for Dallas, which would then get into the postseason with a home win over the Redskins.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 17: Playoff scenarios abound in the final week of the regular season. While all four AFC divisional spots are taken, there is one more wild card spot left. As for the NFC? Two division titles (East and West) are up for grabs. Pay close attention… this is going to cause more confusion than a mouse in a Burlesque show (apologies to Foghorn Leghorn!)

AFC

CLINCHED:
Baltimore – AFC North and home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs
Houston – AFC South
Kansas City – AFC West
New England – AFC East
Buffalo – playoff berth

Kansas City (11-4) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (5-10), 1 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches a first-round bye with:
Kansas City win + New England loss

New England (12-3) vs. Miami (4-11), 1 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches a first-round bye with:
New England win or tie OR
Kansas City loss or tie

Oakland (7-8) at Denver (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Oakland clinches a playoff berth with:
Oakland win + Pittsburgh loss + TEN loss + IND win + OAK clinches strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Pittsburgh*
*Oakland clinches strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Pittsburgh if ONE of the following teams win or tie:

Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles Chargers OR New England

Pittsburgh (8-7) at Baltimore (13-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Pittsburgh clinches a playoff berth with:

Pittsburgh win + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh tie + Tennessee loss OR
Tennessee loss + Indianapolis win + Oakland loss or tie OR
Tennessee loss + Indianapolis win + Pittsburgh ties Oakland in strength-of-victory tiebreaker*

*Pittsburgh ties Oakland in strength-of-victory tiebreaker if ALL of the following teams win:
Minnesota, Green Bay, Kansas City and Miami

Tennessee (8-7) at Houston (10-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Tennessee clinches a playoff berth with:

Tennessee win OR
Tennessee tie + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
Pittsburgh loss + IND loss or tie

NFC

CLINCHED:
Green Bay – NFC North
New Orleans – NFC South
Minnesota – playoff berth
San Francisco – playoff berth
Seattle – playoff berth

Dallas (7-8) vs. Washington (3-12), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Dallas clinches NFC East division with:
Dallas win + Philadelphia loss

Green Bay (12-3) (at Detroit (3-11-1), 1 p.m. on FOX

Green Bay clinches a first-round bye with:
Green Bay win OR
New Orleans loss OR
Green Bay tie + SF loss OR
Green Bay tie + New Orleans tie

Green Bay clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
Green Bay win + San Francisco loss or tie OR
Green Bay tie + San Francisco loss + New Orleans loss or tie

New Orleans (12-3) at Carolina (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:
New Orleans win + Green Bay loss or tie OR
New Orleans win + San Francisco loss or tie OR
New Orleans tie + Green Bay loss OR
New Orleans tie + San Francisco loss OR
San Francisco loss + Green Bay win or tie

New Orleans clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
New Orleans win + Green Bay loss or tie + San Francisco loss or tie OR
New Orleans tie + Green Bay loss + San Francisco loss

Philadelphia (8-7) at New York Giants (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX

Philadelphia clinches NFC East division with:
PHI win or tie OR
Dallas loss or tie

San Francisco (12-3) at Seattle (11-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC

San Francisco clinches NFC West division title with:
San Francisco win or tie

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:
San Francisco win OR
San Francisco tie + Green Bay loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + New Orleans loss or tie

San Francisco clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
San Francisco win OR
San Francisco tie + Green Bay loss or tie + New Orleans loss or tie

Seattle (11-4) vs. San Francisco (12-3), 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches NFC West division with:
Seattle win

Seattle clinches a first-round bye with:
Seattle win + Green Bay loss

Seattle clinches home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
Seattle win + Green Bay loss + New Orleans loss

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 17

PLAYOFF PUSH: All 16 games are division contests in Week 17 and there are still 15 teams in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV.

In 15 of the past 16 years, at least two teams have won their division the season after missing the playoffs. With a win over Minnesota on Monday Night Football in Week 16, Green Bay (12-3) clinched the NFC North.

If San Francisco (12-3) defeats Seattle (11-4) on Sunday Night Football, the 49ers would clinch the NFC West, marking the 16th time in the last 17 seasons at least two teams have won their division the season after missing the playoffs.

In the AFC, five teams have already punched their tickets to the postseason, including all four division winners: Baltimore (13-2, AFC North and home-field advantage), Houston (10-5, AFC South), Kansas City (11-4, AFC West), New England (12-3, AFC East) and Buffalo (10-5, playoff berth).

Five teams have also locked up playoff berths in the NFC: Green Bay (12-3, NFC North), New Orleans (12-3, NFC South), Minnesota (10-5, playoff berth), San Francisco (12-3, playoff berth) and Seattle (11-4, playoff berth).

WILSON WINNER: Seattle’s Russell Wilson has led the Seahawks to the postseason for the seventh time in eight seasons as the team’s starting quarterback and is the first quarterback to lead his team to a winning record in each of his first eight seasons in NFL history.

With a win over San Francisco on Sunday Night Football, Seattle will capture the NFC West division title and Wilson will earn his 87th regular-season win, surpassing Tom Brady (86 wins) for the most regular-season wins by a quarterback through his first eight seasons in NFL history.

SAINTS GO MARCHING INTO RECORD BOOKS: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees passed for 279 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a Week 16 victory, as the Saints earned at least 12 wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

With another performance of at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions on Sunday at Carolina (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Brees will become the fourth player with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in at least four consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015 – 5)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2014 – 4)
Tom Brady, New England (2007 – 4)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

​​Brees also leads the league with a 75.3 completion percentage in 2019 (among qualified passers) and is on pace to break his own single-season completion percentage record for the second-consecutive season. The 19-year veteran entered 2019 with four of the top five single-season completion percentages in league annals. Oakland quarterback Derek Carr (71.1 percent) and Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill (70.7) also each own completion percentages over of at least 70 percent entering Week 17.

The players with the highest single-season completion percentages in NFL history among qualified passers:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – COMPLETION PERCENTAGE)

Drew Brees, New Orleans (2019 – 75.3)*
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2018 – 74.4)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2017 – 72.0)
Sam Bradford, Minnesota (2016 – 71.6)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011 – 71.2)
Derek Carr, Oakland (2019 – 71.1)*
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (2019 – 70.7)*
*Entering Week 17

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas leads the NFL with 145 receptions in 2019 and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison (143 in 2002) for the most receptions in a single season in NFL history. Both Thomas and Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins have recorded at least five receptions in all 15 games this season.

If Thomas has at least five receptions at Carolina and Hopkins has at least five receptions on Sunday against Tennessee, they would become the fifth and sixth different receivers with at least five receptions in all 16 games of a regular season since 1978, when the 16-game schedule was implemented.

The players with at least five receptions in all 16 games of a regular season since 1978:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON)
Jarvis Landry, Miami (2017)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2014)
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (2013)
Pierre Garcon, Washington (2013)
Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville (2001)
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (2019)*
Michael Thomas, New Orleans (2019)*
*In 15 games

Additionally, with at least 12 receptions on Sunday, Thomas would become the first player with at least 12 receptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.

DUAL-THREAT BACKS: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey registered 173 scrimmage yards (119 receiving, 54 rushing) last week, his ninth game with at least 150 scrimmage yards this season.

With at least 150 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans, McCaffrey, who leads the league with 2,294 scrimmage yards in 2019, would tie Chris Johnson (10 games in 2009) for the most games with at least 150 scrimmage yards in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 150 scrimmage yards in a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES)
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (2009 – 10)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (2001 – 9)(HOF)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (1999 – 9)(HOF)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 9)*
*Through 15 games
(HOF) – Hall of Fame

With at least 216 scrimmage yards on Sunday, McCaffrey would surpass Johnson (2,509 scrimmage yards in 2009) for the most scrimmage yards in a single season in league annals.

Additionally, McCaffrey ranks second among all running backs this season with 933 receiving yards, trailing only the Los Angeles Chargers’ Austin Ekeler (950). If McCaffrey has at least 67 receiving yards against New Orleans and Ekeler has at least 50 receiving yards at Kansas City, they would become the fourth and fifth running backs with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a single season since 1970.

The running backs with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a season since 1970:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – RECEIVING YARDS)
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis Rams (1999 – 1,048)(HOF)
Lionel James, San Diego (1985 – 1,027)
Roger Craig, San Francisco (1985 – 1,016)
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers (2019 – 950)*
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 933)*
*Through 15 games

McCaffrey, who ranks second in the NFL with a career-high 1,361 rushing yards this season, can join Roger Craig (1985) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1999) as the only players with at least 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history.

HISTORY DOWN SOUTH: In his 125th career game, Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones, who has 12,047 career receiving yards, had 10 catches for 166 yards in the Falcons’ Week 16 victory and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (142 games) as the fastest player to reach 12,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.

Jones, who ranks third in the league with 1,316 receiving yards in 2019, needs at least 84 receiving yards on Sunday at Tampa Bay, to tie Rice (six seasons) for the most seasons with at least 1,400 receiving yards in NFL history.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston leads the league with a career-high 4,908 passing yards entering the season’s final week and has thrown for at least 375 yards in five different games in 2019.

With at least 375 passing yards on Sunday against Atlanta, Winston would tie Peyton Manning (six games in 2013) for the most games with at least 375 passing yards in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most games with at least 375 passing yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES WITH 375+ PASSING YARDS)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2013 – 6)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2013 – 5)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (2019 – 5)*
*Through 15 games

REMARKABLE ROOKIE RECEIVERS: Tennessee’s A.J. Brown (927 receiving yards) and Washington’s Terry McLaurin (919) lead all rookies in receiving yards this season and each have a chance to reach 1,000 receiving yards in their first NFL seasons.

If Brown has at least 73 receiving yards at Houston and McLaurin has at least 81 receiving yards at Dallas, the 2019 season would join 2014 and 1986 as the only seasons featuring multiple rookies with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

The seasons featuring multiple rookies with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:

SEASON: ROOKIES (TEAM – RECEIVING YARDS)
2014: Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants – 1,305), Mike Evans (Tampa Bay – 1,051), Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina – 1,008)
1986: Bill Brooks (Indianapolis – 1,131), Ernest Givins (Houston Oilers – 1,062)
2019: A.J. Brown (Tennessee – 927), Terry McLaurin (Washington – 919)*
*Entering Week 17

Because it’s the final weekend of the regular season and it’s the Christmas season, we’re going to do what we did to start the season and make every Sunday contest “DRILL WORTHY!” (even the bad games!) (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Last week? Best. Week. EVER. 12-4 for the week, 134-106 for the season. That being said, here are the Sunday picks for week 17.

ATLANTA (6-9) at Tampa Bay (7-8), 1 p.m. on FOX and 712. They meet again. Matt Ryan vs. Jameis Winston. Atlanta and Tampa Bay meet in the Sunshine State at Raymond James Stadium in an NFC South rematch. The Falcons closed out their home season with a huge win against Jacksonville, while the Buccaneers saw their playoff hopes come to an end at the hands of the Houston Texans last Saturday afternoon.

Atlanta picked up a win against the AFC South as they took down Jacksonville 24-12 in the Big Peach Sunday afternoon. The Falcons led from start to finish in the home finale, using a pair of first-quarter TDs from DeVonta Freeman (one rushing, one passing), taking a 17-3 lead with them to the break.

Atlanta out-rushed Jacksonville 135-115 with Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette leading all rushers with 71 yards (Brian Hill led Atlanta with 66 yards), while Ryan threw for 384 yards and a TD to Freeman (Ryan’s favorite target, Julio Jones, led all recievers with 10 catches, good for 166 yards) with Gardner Minshew II throwing for 181 yards and a TD to Chris Conley (Ryan was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Minshew was sacked three times). Atlanta was 7 of 13 on third down in the Big Peach and was somewhat “Grinch-like” with the ball, keeping it for 33:07, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:53, going 3 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

Tampa Bay watched Houston erase a 17-17 tie at the intermission last Saturday afternoon, then had a final-minute drive stall as the Texans left Tampa Bay with the AFC South title and a 23-20 win. Houston opened the first half scoring when Winston was picked off by CB Bradley Roby, who returned the ball 27 yards for a TD before the fans were settled in their seats. Winston would eventually atone for that error, as Tampa Bay would tie things up with 13 second left when he and WR Justin Watson scored on an 8-yard TD toss. Kai Fairbairn and Matt Gay would trade field goals in the third quarter, tying the contest at 20-20 before Fairbairn gave Houston the lead for good with 7:11 left in the contest on a 37-yard field goal.

Tampa Bay would get the ball back with 21 seconds left in the contest after the teams traded punts after the Fairburn field goal and the hopes of a win for the Buccaneers came to an end when Winston was picked off by Issac Hyman to end the threat. Tampa Bay out-rushed Houston 106-68 with Ronald Jones leading the way for all rushers with 77 yards and a TD (Houston was led by DeShaun Watson with 37 yards, Carlos Hyde had Houston’s lone rushing TD). Winston threw for 335 yards and the Justin Watson TD but was sacked three times with four interceptions (including the one that ended the contest), while DeShaun Watson threw for 184 with five interceptions and a sack. Tampa Bay went 9 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and including the final 21 seconds of the contest, kept the ball for 30:28, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 29:32, going 4 of 14 on third down but had success in their only fourth down try.

They met in the Big Peach in week 12 and Tampa Bay came away with the 35-22 win over their NFC South rivals. Atlanta led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, then watched the Buccaneers score 12 second-quarter points unchallenged to lead 19-10 at the intermission. Tampa Bay, who would get TDs from DL Veta Vea and DT Ndamukong Suh, outscored Atlanta 16-12 in the final 30 minutes of action to seal Atlanta’s fate. Tampa Bay out-rushed Atlanta 133-57 and Winston threw for 313 yards with a pair of TDs (Winston was picked off twice), while Ryan threw for 271 yards, was sacked six times and picked off once before being replaced by Matt Schaub (55 yards, TD to Calvin Ridley). Tampa Bay went 6 of 13 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 28:22, while the Falcons actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for for 31:38, while going 4 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

In the week 12 contest in the Big Peach, Atlanta was favored by 4 1/2 and Tampa Bay covered, winning by 13 and both teams covered the 52 over/under, tallying 57 points. This time, the odds-makers in Vegas like Tampa Bay as 1 1/2-point favorites and the over/under comes in at 47 1/2. A Tampa Bay win gives the Bucs second place to themselves behind New Orleans in the NFC South, while the Falcons are looking for revenge from their loss in the Big Peach from their week 12 contest and a win for them would tie them with Tampa Bay. The tie binds here. Atlanta covers the 1 1/2 in the Sunshine State and wins in Tampa Bay for the second straight year.

New York Jets (6-9) at Buffalo (10-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. They met in the Meadowlands to start the season and now they meet in upstate New York to close things out. Buffalo hosts the New York Jets in Orchard Park to close out the 20199 regular season.

The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! damaged Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes last Sunday at Met Life Stadium, holding off the Steelers 16-10 in upstate New Jersey. The Steelers and Jets went into the locker room tied at 10-10 after Robbie Anderson and Steven Ficken opened New York’s scoring (Anderson scoring on a 23-yard pass from Sam Darnold and a 54-yard field goal by Ficken for the Jets) before Chris Boswell (49-yard field goal) and WR Dioante Johnson (29-yard TD pass from Mason Rudolph) evened things up. Ficken would give the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! the lead back for keeps with a pair of field goals to make it a 16-10 contest, then held off a late Pittsburgh rally to seal the win in the Meadowlands.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier in the contest but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did manage to out-rush Pittsburgh 85-75 and Darnonld threw for 183 yards and a TD without an interception (he was sacked twice), while Rudolph (taking over for Delvin Hodges) threw for 129 yards and a TD with a sack. GangGreen went 4 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:28, while the Steelers actually ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 31:32, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Bills watched Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take the AFC East title in Foxboro last Saturday, falling to the Patriots 24-17 at Gillette Stadium. The two AFC East rivals went to the intermission tied at 10-10 before the Bills would take the lead with 7:25 left in the third when Josh Allen and John Brown connected on a 53-yard TD toss. New England then proceeded to chip away at the lead with 10:45 left in regulation when Nick Folk connected on a 20-yard field goal, then took the lead for keeps with 5:06 left in the contest when Patriots RB Rex Burkhead scored from a yard out. New England then went for two and Brady and WR Josh Edleman connected on the try. Buffalo would get the ball back and made their way down the field, getting as close as the Patroits’ 15-yard line before the drive stalled as Allen’s pass to Cole Beasley sailed in complete.

New England out-rushed Buffalo 143-92 with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 96 yards; Allen threw for 208 yards with a pair of TDs, while Brady threw for 271 yards and a TD to Matt LaCosse (Allen was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The Bills were a dismal 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:08, while New England ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 38:52, while going 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They got things started right away, meeting in week one in the Meadowlands and the Bills circled their wagons, coming away 17-16 winners at Met Life Stadium. GangGreen led 6-0 at the break and took a 16-3 lead with them to the start of the fourth quarter before the Bills responded with 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged, using a 3-yard run by Allen and a 38-yard pass from Allen to WR John Brown to take the lead for keeps. The Bills would then go on to stop a GangGreen rally that could have given the home team the win in the closing seconds of the contest.

Buffalo out-rushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 128-68 with Bills RB Devin Singletary leading the way with 70 yards, while LeVeon Bell led New York with 60. Allen threw for 254 yards with the TD pass to Brown (in addition to his rushing TD) and was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Darnold threw for 175 yards with a TD to Bell and was sacked four times. Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries in the Meadowlands (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were rulers of time, keeping the ball for 32:01, going 7 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

GangGreen was favored by 3 in the week one opener in the Meadowlands and while Buffalo won, they did not cover the spread, winning by 1 and the 40 1/2 over/under? It would stay intact, as both teams combined for 33 points. This time, the Bills are favored in upstate New York by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 36. In GangGreen’s defense, they have been playing some decent football of late but they’re not going to the post-season. Bills prove that the first meeting was not a fluke, circles the wagons and covers the 1 1/2 in upstate New York.

Cleveland (6-9) at Cincinnati (1-14), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling Buckeye State teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals host Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. Both teams took losses in last week’s contests.

The Browns struggled against Baltimore and Lamar Jackson as the Ravens left First Energy Field 31-15 winners. After a scoreless first quarter, Cleveland took the lead with 11:53 left before the half when Mayfield and TE Demetrius Harris connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Baltimore would later respond with a pair of TD passes from Jackson to TE Mark Andrews to lead by seven at the break. Cleveland would eventually pull themselves to within nine with 8:01 left in the contest when Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. connected on a 3-yard TD toss (Cleveland would miss the two-point try). It would be as close as the Browns would get, as the Ravens’ Justice Hill put the nail in Cleveland’s coffin, scoring on an 18-yard run.

Jackson led all rushers with 103 yards, while throwing three TD passes (he threw for 238 yards and was not sacked or intercepted) as the Ravens out-rushed Cleveland 243-49, with Mayfield throwing for 192 yards with the pair of TD passes and an interception. The Ravens were 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:19 to Cleveland’s 25:41 (the Brown were 3 of 12 on third down tries).

A Cincinnati rally that sent their contest with Miami into overtime went for nothing as the Dolphins stormed back in overtime and came away 38-35 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins led 21-6 at the intermission and took a 28-12 lead into the final quarter of regulation before the Bengals went on their tear in that period, scoring their last 22 points in that frame unchallenged, tying the contest up as time expired in regulation when TE Tyler Eifert and Andy Dalton connected on a 25-yard TD toss to put them to within 2. Dalton then took matters into his own feet, scoring on the two-point try to send the contest into the extra period. Each team would get the ball twice and each punted to the other team. With 3:19 left in the extra period, Miami would get the ball back and make the most of it, using all of the 3:19 left on the clock on a 10-play, 51-yard drive, sending Dolphins fans home happy with Jason Sanders booting a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

Neither the Bengals or Dolphins breached the 100-yard barrier but Miami did come close and out-rushed Cincinnati 96-59. Fitzpatrick, who has now thrown four TD passes in a game for five different teams, threw for 419 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Dalton threw for 396 yards with four TDs (two to Tyler Boyd) and was sacked four times. The Bengals were 4 of 18 on third down but perfect in their three fourth down tries, holding on to the ball for 33:36, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and including the final 3:19 of overtime, kept the ball for 36:24, while going 6 of 16 on third down.

They met in week 14 along the shores of Lake Erie and the Browns came away 27-19 winners at First Energy Field. Cleveland led their in-state rivals 14-13 at the intermission, then proceeded to outscore the Bengals 13-6 in the second half, using a pair of Austin Siebert field goals to ice the contest away. Cincinnati out-rushed Cleveland 179-146 with Bengals RB Joe Mixon leading all rushers with 146 yards and a rushing TD, while the Browns were led by Nick Chubb, who tallied 106 yards on 15 carries. Mayfield threw for 192 yards and had a rushing TD, while Dalton threw for 262 yards (Mayfield was sacked once and picked off twice, while Dalton was picked off once and sacked twice). The Browns went 7 of 12 on third down tries and held the ball for 25:29, while the Bengals ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin for 34:31 and 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Cleveland was favored by 8 1/2 in the week 14 contest along the shores of Lake Erie and barely missed the spread, winning by 8. The two clubs did manage to cover the 42 1/2 over/under, tallying 46 points in the contest. Cleveland’s favored again, this time by 3 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Neither team is going anywhere this year and the Browns are looking to finish strong, while the Bengals are preparing to pick first in the 2020 NFL Draft. Cleveland covers the 3 and closes out the season with the win on the road in the Buckeye State.

Miami (4-11) at New England (12-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC East rivals close out the 2019 campaign in Foxboro as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Both teams were winners at home in their contests last week.

Miami overcame a Cincinnati rally that sent their contest with the Bengals into overtime and came away 38-35 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins led 21-6 at the intermission and took a 28-12 lead into the final quarter of regulation before the Bengals went on their tear in that period, scoring their last 22 points in that frame unchallenged, tying the contest up as time expired in regulation when TE Tyler Eifert and Andy Dalton connected on a 25-yard TD toss to put them to within 2. Dalton then took matters into his own feet, scoring on the two-point try to send the contest into the extra period. Each team would get the ball twice and each punted to the other team. With 3:19 left in the extra period, Miami would get the ball back and make the most of it, using all of the 3:19 left on the clock on a 10-play, 51-yard drive, sending Dolphins fans home happy with Jason Sanders booting a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

Neither the Bengals or Dolphins breached the 100-yard barrier but Miami did come close and out-rushed Cincinnati 96-59. Fitzpatrick, who has now thrown four TD passes in a game for five different teams, threw for 419 yards, was sacked twice and threw an interception, while Dalton threw for 396 yards with four TDs (two to Tyler Boyd) and was sacked four times. The Bengals were 4 of 18 on third down but perfect in their three fourth down tries, holding on to the ball for 33:36, while the Dolphins ruled the clock and including the final 3:19 of overtime, kept the ball for 36:24, while going 6 of 16 on third down.

Brady and the New England Patriots took the AFC East title in Foxboro last Saturday, beating AFC East rival Buffalo 24-17 at Gillette Stadium. The two AFC East rivals went to the intermission tied at 10-10 before the Bills would take the lead with 7:25 left in the third when Josh Allen and John Brown connected on a 53-yard TD toss. New England then proceeded to chip away at the lead with 10:45 left in regulation when Nick Folk connected on a 20-yard field goal, then took the lead for keeps with 5:06 left in the contest when Patriots RB Rex Burkhead scored from a yard out. New England then went for two and Brady and WR Josh Edleman connected on the try. Buffalo would get the ball back and made their way down the field, getting as close as the Patroits’ 15-yard line before the drive stalled as Allen’s pass to Cole Beasley sailed in complete.

New England out-rushed Buffalo 143-92 with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 96 yards; Allen threw for 208 yards with a pair of TDs, while Brady threw for 271 yards and a TD to Matt LaCosse (Allen was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The Bills were a dismal 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:08, while New England ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 38:52, while going 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New England’s win gives them their 11th consecutive division title, extends record for most consecutive division titles since 1970 (Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams 7). The Patriots 16th consecutive win over Buffalo ties them for the 3rd longest NFL win streak vs. single opponent and New England’s 13th 12-win season since merger, ties them for the most all-time (San Francisco). As for Brady, his 32nd career win vs. Bills extends the NFL record for wins vs. single opponent.

They met in week two in the Sunshine State and Brady and the Pats pitched a 43-0 shutout at Hard Rock Stadium. New England led 13-0 at the intermission, then proceeded to floor the gas in the second half, scoring their last 30 points of the contest unchallenged. New England out-rushed Miami 126-42 with Michel leading all rushers with 85 yards and a TD, while Brady threw for 264 yards with a pair of TDs and no interceptions (he was sacked twice) and Fitzpatrick throwing for 89 yards with three interceptions before being benched in favor of Josh Rosen (who threw an interception with 97 yards in the air). New England went 6 of 11 on third down and were misers with the ball, holding on it for 36:30, while the Dolphins, who kept the pigskin for 23:30, while going 2 of 15 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

In the week two contest in Miami, the Patriots easily covered the 19-point spread, winning by 43 but missed the 47 over/under by 4 points. New England’s favored again, this time by 15 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Dolphins have actually gotten better over the last few weeks but their dream comes to an end in Foxboro. While Miami makes it closer than 15, Brady and the Pats win in Foxboro.

New Orleans (12-3) at Carolina (5-10), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. New Orleans and Carolina meet in the Tar Heel State to close out the 2019 season at Bank of America Stadium. while the Saints rallied on the road to win in Nashville, the Panthers took another loss, this time losing in the Hoosier State.

New Orleans trailed Tennessee 14-10 at the half, then went on a 28-14 run in the second half to come away 38-28 winners at Nissan Stadium. Saints RB Alvin Kamara’s 40-yard run early in the third quarter gave the Saints the lead for good at 17-14. Kamara would then score again in the quarter, scoring from a yard out to give New Orleans a 24-14 lead late in the quarter before Titans WR Tajaé Sharpe would score the first of his two TDs, connecting with Ryan Tannehill from 36 yards to pull them to within 3. New Orleans then pushed the lead back to 10 with 73 seconds left in the third when Drew Brees and TE Jared Cook connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tennessee would not go away quietly as Sharpe and Tannehill connected on a second TD pass, this one from seven yards with 7:27 left in regulation.

The Titans would get the ball back with 4:25 left but turned the ball over when WR Kalif Raymond fumbled at the Saints’ 38-yard line and New Orleans’ Chauncey Gardner-Johnson would recover in decent field position. The Saints, with a short field, would then go on a 6-play, 25-yard drive that used 1:56 of clock to put a nail in Tennessee’s coffin as WR Michael Thomas, who surpassed Marvin Harrison for the all-time passes caught record, caught a 2-yard TD toss from Brees with 2:10 left. New Orleans then held off a late Tennessee rally, ran out the clock and took the win in the Music City.

Tennessee actually out-rushed New Orleans 149-102 but Kamara led all rushers with 80 yards and the two rushing TDs, while Brees threw for 279 yards and three TDs (two of them to Cook, one to Thomas; Thomas had 12 catches for 136 yards), while Tannehill threw for 272 yards with three TDs (Brees was sacked three times, Tannehill was sacked five times and neither man threw an interception). Both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down; the Saints were 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:04, while the Titans held the pigskin for 28:56, going 5 of 13 on third down.

Carolina watched Indianapolis use a pair of punt returns from running back Nyheim Hines (84 and 71 yards) in their 38-6 win last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Carolina was held to a pair of Jeff Slye field goals, trailed 21-3 at the half, then watched the Colts floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, outpacing the Panthers 17-3.

The Colts out-rushed Carolina 218-87 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 95 yards and a TD, while Collin McCaffrey led Carolina (who lost their seventh contest in a row, with interm head coach Perry Fewell looking for his first win) with 54 yards. Brissett threw for 119 yards and while he did not have a passing TD or interception, he did have a rushing TD in the win, while Will Grier (taking over for Kyle Allen) threw for 224 yards (Grier was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, while Brissett was sacked three times). The Panthers were 4 of 14 on third down (they went 2 of 4 on fourth down) and would actually rule the clock, keeping the ball for 32:21, while the Colts, holding the pigskin for 27:39, went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The contest in week 12 in the Big Easy was a nail-biter to the end and the Saints’ Wil Lutz kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to take the 34-31 win. New Orleans led 17-15 at the intermission before Carolina chipped away at the lead, first pulling to within seven with 88 seconds left in the third when Christian McCaffrey scored on a 4-yard run, then tying things up with 9:23 when WR D.J. Moore and Allen connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Carolina had a chance to take the lead in regulation with two minutes left but Jeff Slye’s 28-yard field goal try sailed wide right. That miss gave the Saints the ball with 1:56 left in regulation and they would use all of that 1:56 on an 11-play, 65-yard drive with Lutz’s try sailing through the uprights.

Carolina actually out-rushed New Orleans 121-118 and both McCaffery and Saints RB Latavius Murray rushed for 64 yards with a TD; Brees threw for 311 yards with a pair of sacks and an interception, while Allen threw for 256 yards with four sacks (each threw three TDs in the contest). New Orleans was 4 of 10 on third down tries (the Saints were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and including the final 1:56 of the contest, kept the ball for 28:27, while the Panthers actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:33, while going 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 12 contest in the Big Easy, the Saints were favored by 9 1/2 but won by only three but New Orleans and Carolina cleared the 46 1/2 over/under with 65 combined points. The Saints are favored this time by 13 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The 44 1/2 is reasonable…. the 13 sounds a bit steep. Carolina took them to the edge in their last meeting in the Big Easy and under Fewell, the Panthers have actually played some decent football. New Orleans wants to be home for the playoffs, while the Panthers look for revenge in the Tar Heel State. Carolina’s finer in Charlotte as the Panthers give Perry Fewell his first win as interim head coach, pulling off the upset at Bank of America Stadium.

Green Bay (12-3) at Detroit (3-11-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. The top team in the NFC North (or Norris, as ESPN’s Chris Berman calls it) meets the bottom team in the divison as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers travel to the Motor City to face off against the Detroit Lions.

Green Bay won the NFC North title in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, overcoming three turnovers (Rodgers interception, two fumbles) to take a 23-10 win over Kirk Cousins and Minnesota Monday night. The Packers trailed 10-9 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium, then proceeded to score their final 14 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged, with Green Bay’s Aaron Jones scoring a pair of TDs in the half, including a 56-yard run that sealed the fate of the Vikings.

Jones led all rushers with 154 yards as the Packers out-rushed Minnesota 184-57, with Rodgers throwing for 216 yards and three sacks, while Cousins threw for 122 yards and a TD to WR Stefon Diggs with five sacks (both QBs threw an interception). Green Bay went 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 37:32, while the Vikings kept the pigskin for 22:28, going 4 of 15 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

Detroit lost their eighth contest in a row as Denver erased a 10-10 tie at the intermission and came away with the 27-17 win Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High. Broncos kicker Brian McManus gave the home team the lead for good, connecting on a 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter. Detroit’s Kenny Golladay would then catch a 3-yard TD pass from Daniel Blough to pull them to within four with 3:51 in the third before Denver scored 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged, using TDs from WR DaeSean Hamilton and RB Phillip Lindsay to seal the win.

Lindsay led all rushers with 109 yards with the TD as the Broncos out-rushed Detroit 150-96 and Drew Lock threw for 192 yards with the Hamilton TD with no sacks or interceptions, while Blough threw for 117 yards with the Golladay TD with 4 sacks but no interceptions. Detroit went 4 of 11 on third down (the Lions were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:52, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 36:08, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Green Bay and Detroit met at Lambeau in week six on a Monday night and the Packers prevailed 23-22 in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst. The Lions led 13-10 at the intermission before the Packers went to work to erase the lead, tying things at 13-13 with 12:35 left in the third on Mason Crosby’s 48-yard field goal. Detroit’s Matt Prather would give Detroit the lead back with three field goals, with the last score coming with 12:17 left in regulation from 54 yards out. That would be the last that the Lions would see the lead as Green Bay would pull themselves to within two with 9:03 left in the contest when Rodgers and WR Allen Lazard connected on a 35-yard TD pass. After a Detroit punt, Green Bay got the ball back with 6:46 left in the contest and they would use all of that 6:46 to go on a 14-play, 77-yard drive, sending Packers fans home happy campers as Crosby would connect on a 23-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

Green Bay out-rushed the Lions 170-56 with Packers RB Jamaal Williams leading all rushers with 104 yards; Rodgers threw for 283 yards with the two TDs, a sack and an interception, while Matthew Stafford threw for 265 yards with three sacks and no TDs but no interceptions. Green Bay was 4 of 12 on third down and including the final 6:46 of the contest, kept the ball for 33:04, while the Lions held the pigskin for 26:56, going 3 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In their Monday night week six contest at Lambeau, the Packers were favored by 4 1/2 but won by 1 and the two teams tallied for 45 points, missing the over/under by 2. Green Bay’s favored by 12 1/2 in the Motor City and the over/under’s 43. Granted, the Lions are bad but they’re not 12 1/2 bad and they would love nothing more than to spoil Green Bay’s playoff plans. Sorry, kitties… not gonna happen. Detroit may make it closer than the 12 1/2 but Rodgers and the Packers prevail in the Motor City with the win.

Chicago (7-8) at Minnesota (10-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Chicago and Minnesota, NFC North rivals, meet in the season finale in the 2019 campaign in the Twin Cities. Both teams look to rebound after losing at home last week.

The Monsters of the Midway were held to a 46-yard field goal by Eddie Pinerio as time expired in the third quarter as Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes would take a 26-3 win over Da Bears at Soldier Field. Kansas City led 17-0 at the intermission as Mahomes used a rushing TD in the first and a TD pass to TE Travis Kelce as part of that scoring binge, tallying all of those first half points unchallenged. Kansas City out-rushed Chicago 106-101 with Chiefs RB Damien Williams leading all rushers with 65 and Mahomes threw for 251 yards with a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 157 yards (neither threw an interception, Trubisky was sacked three times, Mahomes was sacked once). Kansas City was 6 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 33:24, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 26:36, went 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down.

Vikings fans watched Green Bay win the NFC North title in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as the Packers overcame three turnovers (Rodgers interception, two fumbles) to take a 23-10 win over Kirk Cousins and Minnesota Monday night. The Packers trailed 10-9 at the intermission at US Bank Stadium, then proceeded to score their final 14 points of the contest in the second half unchallenged, with Green Bay’s Aaron Jones scoring a pair of TDs in the half, including a 56-yard run that sealed the fate of the Vikings.

Jones led all rushers with 154 yards as the Packers out-rushed Minnesota 184-57, with Rodgers throwing for 216 yards and three sacks, while Cousins threw for 122 yards and a TD to WR Stefon Diggs with five sacks (both QBs threw an interception). Green Bay went 5 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 37:32, while the Vikings kept the pigskin for 22:28, going 4 of 15 on third down and 0 for 2 on fourth down.

They met in week four in the Windy City and Minnesota left Chicago on the short end of a 16-6 loss to Da Bears. The Vikings trailed 10-0 at the half at Soldier Field and trailed 16-0 at the end of three quarters before they would put a dent in the scoreboard with 2:58 left in the contest when Devin Cook scored from a yard out. The Vikings missed the extra point, which forced them to try the onside kick. Chicago recovered the kick and ran the clock out to take the win. Chicago, who opened the scoring with a Tank Cohen TD pass from backup QB Chase Daniel late in the first quarter, used three Eddie Pineiro field goals to give Da Bears their points. Chicago out-rushed Minnesota 72-40 and Daniel, who took over for Mitchell Trubisky, threw for 195 yards and the TD, while Kirk Cousins threw for 233 yards (Cousins was sacked six times, Daniel was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Minnesota went 5 of 13 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 24:33, while Chicago ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 35:27, going 5 of 16 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Da Bears covered the 2-point spread in the Windy City, winning by 10 at Soldier Field but the 22 total points that the Monsters of the Midway and Minnesota tallied came nowhere near the 38 over/under that was given. Minnesota’s favored by 1 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under’s 36 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense. For Da Bears, it’s a chance to make their way to the .500 mark, while for the Vikings (locked in as the 5th seed), they’re preparing for a Wild Card game next week. Minnesota covers the 1 in the Twin Cities and win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-10) at Kansas City (11-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They met South of the Border in their first meeting. This time, a pair of AFC West/AFC rivals meet in the Show-Me State as Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs host Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead.

The Chargers closed out their home half of the 2019 campaign falling short against Oakland last Sunday in Carson at Dignity Health Sports Park, falling to the Raiders 24-17 last Sunday. The Bolts trailed 14-7 at the intermission, then pulled themselves to within seven with 89 seconds left in the contest on a 27-yard field goal by Mark Badgley. Los Angeles then tried an onside kick, which Oakland recovered. The Raiders then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win in their final contest in the state of California.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier but Oakland out-rushed the Chargers 99-19 with Raiders RB DeAndre Washington leading the way with 85 yards and a TD. Rivers threw for 279 yards and was sacked once, while Derek Carr threw for 291 yards and a TD toss to WR Hunter Renfrow (Renfrow had seven catches for 107 yards; Carr was sacked three times, Rivers was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Oakland was 7 of 14 on third down and kept the ball to themselves for 33:24, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 26:36, while going 3 of 11 on third down (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

The Chiefs, winners of the AFC West, held Chicago to a 46-yard field goal by Eddie Pinerio as time expired in the third quarter to take a 26-3 win over Da Bears at Soldier Field. Kansas City led 17-0 at the intermission as Mahomes used a rushing TD in the first and a TD pass to TE Travis Kelce as part of that scoring binge, tallying all of those first half points unchallenged. Kansas City out-rushed Chicago 106-101 with Chiefs RB Damien Williams leading all rushers with 65 and Mahomes threw for 251 yards with a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 157 yards (neither threw an interception, Trubisky was sacked three times, Mahomes was sacked once). Kansas City was 6 of 11 on third down and kept the ball for 33:24, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 26:36, went 5 of 12 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down.

Their week 11 meeting was south of the border in Mexico City and the Chiefs would hold off the Chargers 24-17 at Azteca Stadium. Kansas City led 10-9 at the intermission in the Monday night contest and pushed their lead to 15 with 4:56 left in the third when the Mahomes-Kelce combo connected on a 23-yard TD toss before the Chargers made the contest a 7-point affair with 1:44 left in regulation when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Kansas City then stopped a Chargers’ rally in the final second of the contest when Rivers was picked off by Daniel Sorensen in the end zone to end the threat.

Kansas City out-rushed the Chargers 130-93 with Chargers RB Melvin Gordon leading all rushers with 69 yards, while Mahomes, who threw for 182 yards (TD to Kelce, sack, interception), had a rushing TD. Rivers threw for 353 yards with the Allen TD and was sacked twice, throwing four interceptions, including the one that ended Los Angeles’ hopes of tying the contest in regulation (Chargers RB Austin Ekeler led all receivers with 108 yards on eight catches, Kelce had 92 yards on seven catches). The Chiefs were 6 of 13 on third downs and held on to the ball for 28:58, while the Chargers kept the ball for 31:02, going 5 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week 11 contest in Mexico City, the Chiefs covered the 3-point spread, winning by 7 but the two teams missed the 52 1/2 over/under, tallying 41 points. The Chiefs are the darlings of the boys and girls in Vegas and the powers in the desert have made them 9-point favorites in the Show-Me State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. The Chargers are playing with house money, while the Chiefs would love nothing more than to win and have a bye next week. Everything’s up to date in Kansas City, including the Chiefs. KC covers the 9 and wins at Arrowhead.

Philadelphia (8-7) at New York Giants (4-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX on FOX and DirecTV 718. The first-place Philadelphia Eagles make the 90-minute, 95-mile trip down I-95 to face off against the New York Giants in a rematch of NFL East rivals. Both teams were huge winners in last week’s action.

The Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive in the City of Brotherly Love as they held off Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys 17-9 at Century Link Field. The Eagles, in first place in the East, held the Cowboys to three Kai Forbath field goals in the late-afternoon contest, took a 10-6 lead with them to the break, while leading from start to finish, holding off a last-ditch Dallas rally in the closing minutes of the contest. Philadelphia held Dallas to 54 yards, while rushing for 118 yards, with Eagles RB Miles Sanders leading the way with 79 yards, including a 38-yard run that sealed the win for the home team. Carson Wentz threw for 319 yards and a TD to TE Dallas Goedert, while Dallas’ Dak Precott threw for 265 yards (Prescott was sacked twice, Wentz was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Philadelphia was 6 of 14 on third down (the Eagles were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball to themselves for 36:12, while Dallas held the pigskin for 23:48, going 3 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Daniel Jones and the New York Giants need overtime against Washington last Sunday before Big Blue prevailed in Landover, coming away 41-35 winners at Fed Ex Field. New York led 28-14 at the intermission before Washington rallied in the second half of the contest, tying things up with 29 seconds left in regulation when Case Keenum (who took over for DeWayne Haskins) scored on a 1-yard run. It would be the last time that Washington would see the football as the Giants won the toss in overtime and Redskins fans watched with horror as the Giants used an 11-play, 66-yard drive that used 5:45 of the extra period and ending with Jones and Kenny Smith scoring on a 3-yard TD toss with 4:15 left to take the win.

Big Blue out-rushed Washington 206-80 with Sequan Barkley leading the way with 189 yards and a TD; Keenum threw for 158 yards and a passing TD to WR Cam Sims after taking over for Haskins (133 yards, 2 TD, 2 sacks, no interceptions), while Jones threw for 352 yards and five TDs (including the game-winner in overtime) with a sack but no interceptions. Both clubs were 8 of 14 on third down (neither had a fourth down attempt at Fed Ex Field) and Washington actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:48, while the Giants held the pigskin for 31:57.

They met in week 14 in the City of Brotherly Love on a Monday night and the Giants welcomed the return of Eli Manning under center, only to watch Philadelphia and Carson Wentz rally late in that contest, falling to the Eagles 23-17 in overtime at Lincoln Financial Field. After a scoreless first quarter in the City of Brotherly Love, the Giants took a 17-3 lead with them to the break in the Monday night contest, using a pair of Manning TD passes to WR Darius Slayton, only to see the Eagles chip away at the lead as they would rally to pull themselves to within seven with 1:28 left in the third when RB Boston Scott scored on a 2-yard run, then tie things up with 1:53 left in regulation when Wentz and TE Zach Ertz would connect on the first of their two TD passes, the first coming from 2 yards out. Philadelphia would win the toss in overtime and kept Manning (who took over for Daniel Jones, who had an ankle injury) on the bench, as the Eagles marched their way down the field, using an 8-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:50 of clock, ending with Wentz and Ertz connecting on their second TD pass of the night.

Philadelphia out-rushed their NFC East rivals 118-73 (Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 66 yards) and Manning threw for 203 yards, while Wentz threw for 325 yards in the overtime affair (Manning was sacked twice, Wentz was sacked three times but neither threw an interception). The Giants on third down were a somewhat dismal 2 of 12 and kept the ball for 21:59, while the Eagles ruled the clock and including the overtime would keep the ball for 42:51, going 9 of 21 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 14 contest, the Eagles were favored by 8 in the Monday night contest at Lincoln Financial Field but wound up winning by only 6 and both teams missed the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 40 points. In the rematch in the Meadowlands, the Eagles are again favored, this time by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. For the Giants, they want nothing more than to slow down the Eagles’ march to the post-season, if not stop it all together. As for the Eagles? Win and you’re in. Eagles cover the 4 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and win in the Meadowlands.

Tennessee (8-7) at Houston (10-5), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC South rivals meet in the Lone Star State as Tennessee, hoping for a playoff spot, travels to Houston to take on division champion Houston at NRG Stadium.

Tennessee let a 14-10 lead at the half against New Orleans get away from them, then watched as the Saints went on a 28-14 run in the second half to come away 38-28 winners at Nissan Stadium. Saints RB Alvin Kamara’s 40-yard run early in the third quarter gave the Saints the lead for good at 17-14. Kamara would then score again in the quarter, scoring from a yard out to give New Orleans a 24-14 lead late in the quarter before Titans WR Tajaé Sharpe would score the first of his two TDs, connecting with Ryan Tannehill from 36 yards to pull them to within 3. New Orleans then pushed the lead back to 10 with 73 seconds left in the third when Drew Brees and TE Jared Cook connected on a 16-yard TD pass. Tennessee would not go away quietly as Sharpe and Tannehill connected on a second TD pass, this one from seven yards with 7:27 left in regulation.

The Titans would get the ball back with 4:25 left but turned the ball over when WR Kalif Raymond fumbled at the Saints’ 38-yard line and New Orleans’ Chauncey Gardner-Johnson would recover in decent field position. The Saints, with a short field, would then go on a 6-play, 25-yard drive that used 1:56 of clock to put a nail in Tennessee’s coffin as WR Michael Thomas, who surpassed Marvin Harrison for the all-time passes caught record, caught a 2-yard TD toss from Brees with 2:10 left. New Orleans then held off a late Tennessee rally, ran out the clock and took the win in the Music City.

Tennessee actually out-rushed New Orleans 149-102 but Kamara led all rushers with 80 yards and the two rushing TDs, while Brees threw for 279 yards and three TDs (two of them to Cook, one to Thomas; Thomas had 12 catches for 136 yards), while Tannehill threw for 272 yards with three TDs (Brees was sacked three times, Tannehill was sacked five times and neither man threw an interception). Both teams were 0 for 1 on fourth down; the Saints were 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:04, while the Titans held the pigskin for 28:56, going 5 of 13 on third down.

Houston erased a 17-17 tie against Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay at the intermission last Saturday afternoon, then shut down a final-minute drive as the Texans left Tampa Bay with the AFC South title and a 23-20 win. Houston opened the first half scoring when Winston was picked off by CB Bradley Roby, who returned the ball 27 yards for a TD before the fans were settled in their seats. Winston would eventually atone for that error, as Tampa Bay would tie things up with 13 second left when he and WR Justin Watson scored on an 8-yard TD toss. Kai Fairbairn and Matt Gay would trade field goals in the third quarter, tying the contest at 20-20 before Fairbairn gave Houston the lead for good with 7:11 left in the contest on a 37-yard field goal.

Tampa Bay would get the ball back with 21 seconds left in the contest after the teams traded punts after the Fairburn field goal and the hopes of a win for the Buccaneers came to an end when Winston was picked off by Issac Hyman to end the threat. Tampa Bay out-rushed Houston 106-68 with Ronald Jones leading the way for all rushers with 77 yards and a TD (Houston was led by Watson with 37 yards, Carlos Hyde had Houston’s lone rushing TD). Winston threw for 335 yards and the Justin Watson TD but was sacked three times with four interceptions (including the one that ended the contest), while DeShaun Watson threw for 184 with five interceptions and a sack. Tampa Bay went 9 of 17 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and including the final 21 seconds of the contest, kept the ball for 30:28, while the Texans kept the pigskin for 29:32, going 4 of 14 on third down but had success in their only fourth down try.

They met in week 15 in the Music City and Tennessee wound up on the short end of a 24-21 loss to AFC South rival Houston in Nashville. After a scoreless first quarter at Nissan Stadium, Houston scored a pair of second-quarter TD passes from Watson to Kevin Stills to lead 14-0 at the break. Tennessee would even things up in the second half as Titans QB Ryan Tannehill would score on a 3-yard run in the third and a Tannehill TD pass to A.J. Brown early in the fourth quarter before the Texans would take the lead back for good when RB Carlos Hyde scored on a 10-yard run and added to that lead with a 29-yard field goal by Kai Forbath with 3:26 left in regulation. Tennessee would not go away quietly, narrowing the lead to 3 with 2:04 left when Tannehill and RB Dion Lewis connected on an 11-yard pass. Houston later sealed the win in the final seconds of the contest when they sacked Tannehill for an eight-yard loss at their 4-yard line. With no time outs, Tannehill spiked the ball in an effort to stop the clock. There was one problem… there was one second left in the contest and when he spiked the ball, that ended the contest.

Tennessee out-rushed Houston 163-140 and Hyde led all rushers with 104 yards along with the TD, while Derrek Henry led Tennessee with 86; Watson threw for 243 yards and the two first-half TDs to Stills, while Tannehill threw for 279 yards and a pair of TDs (Watson was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions, Tannehill was sacked twice and threw an interception). Houston was 5 of 10 on third down conversions and held the ball for 31:20, while the Titans kept the pigskin for 28:40 (including the final 2:04 of the contest) and were 4 of 10 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 15 contest in the Music City, Tennessee was favored by 3 and the Texans covered, winning by 3 but both teams missed the 48 over/under, tallying 45 points. Houston’s favored this time, as the boys and girls in Vegas like them as 3 1/2-point favorites in the Lone Star State with a 45 1/2 over/under. For the Titans, it’s win and wait, while the Texans have their hay in the barn. Houston covers the 3 1/2 in the Lone Star State and takes the win at home.

Pittsburgh (8-7) at Baltimore (13-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. They again, this time they will meet in Charm City. One’s already in the post-season party, the other’s hoping to get an invite. Pittsburgh, with slim playoff hopes, travels to Baltimore to face off against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes took a hit last Sunday at Met Life Stadium against the New York Jets, as they would hold off the Steelers 16-10 in upstate New Jersey. The Steelers and Jets went into the locker room tied at 10-10 after Robbie Anderson and Steven Ficken opened New York’s scoring (Anderson scoring on a 23-yard pass from Sam Darnold and a 54-yard field goal by Ficken for the Jets) before Chris Boswell (49-yard field goal) and WR Dioante Johnson (29-yard TD pass from Mason Rudolph) evened things up. Ficken would give the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! the lead back for keeps with a pair of field goals to make it a 16-10 contest, then held off a late Pittsburgh rally to seal the win in the Meadowlands.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier in the contest but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did manage to out-rush Pittsburgh 85-75 and Darnonld threw for 183 yards and a TD without an interception (he was sacked twice), while Rudolph (taking over for Delvin Hodges) threw for 129 yards and a TD with a sack. GangGreen went 4 of 15 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:28, while the Steelers actually ruled the clock, holding on to the pigskin for 31:32, going 3 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore and Lamar Jackson took home field advantage for the 2019 AFC playoffs as the Ravens left First Energy Field 31-15 winners last Sunday. After a scoreless first quarter, Cleveland took the lead with 11:53 left before the half when Mayfield and TE Demetrius Harris connected on a 1-yard TD pass. Baltimore would later respond with a pair of TD passes from Jackson to TE Mark Andrews to lead by seven at the break. Cleveland would eventually pull themselves to within nine with 8:01 left in the contest when Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. connected on a 3-yard TD toss (Cleveland would miss the two-point try). It would be as close as the Browns would get, as the Ravens’ Justice Hill put the nail in Cleveland’s coffin, scoring on an 18-yard run.

Jackson led all rushers with 103 yards, while throwing three TD passes (he threw for 238 yards and was not sacked or intercepted) as the Ravens out-rushed Cleveland 243-49, with Mayfield throwing for 192 yards with the pair of TD passes and an interception. The Ravens were 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:19 to Cleveland’s 25:41 (the Brown were 3 of 12 on third down tries).

They met in the Steel City in week 5 and Baltimore needed overtime at Heinz Field to leave the Steel City 26-23 winners. The Ravens led 17-13 at the intermission before Pittsburgh stormed back in the second half to lead 23-20 with 2:37 left in regulation on a Chris Boswell field goal. Jeff Tucker then connected on a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in regulation, then after a Pittsburgh turnover by WR JuJu Smith-Schuster in the overtime, Tucker connected on a 46-yarder with 5:26 left in the extra period to take the win.

Baltimore out-rushed Pittsburgh 138-77 and Lamar Jackson threw for 161 yards with a TD and three interceptions, while Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a TD to Smith-Schuster before being knocked out of the contest with a concussion (Rudolph was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Baltimore was 6 of 15 on third down (the Ravens were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 39 minutes (including the overtime), while the Steelers were 3 of 9 on third down, keeping the ball for 25:34.

Batlimore was favored by 3 1/2 in the Steel City in the week 5 meeting and won the overtime contest by 3 points. The two clubs did cover the 44 1/2 over/under with 49 points. Pittsburgh’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 37 1/2. The Steelers’ playoff hopes are on the line, while the Ravens hold on to the top spot in the AFC playoff party. For the Steelers, it was fun while it lasted. Ravens cover the 1 1/2 and win in Charm City.

Indianapolis (7-8) at Jacksonville (5-10), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of AFC South rivals close things out in the Sunshine State as Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts travel to TIAA Stadium for a late afternoon contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Colts used a pair of punt returns from running back Nyheim Hines (84 and 71 yards) in their 38-6 win over struggling Carolina last Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis, holding Carolina to a pair of Jeff Slye field goals, led 21-3 at the half, then floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, outpacing the Panthers 17-3.

The Colts out-rushed Carolina 218-87 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 95 yards and a TD, while Collin McCaffrey led Carolina (who lost their seventh contest in a row, with interim head coach Perry Fewell looking for his first win) with 54 yards. Brissett threw for 119 yards and while he did not have a passing TD or interception, he did have a rushing TD in the win, while Will Grier (taking over for Kyle Allen) threw for 224 yards (Grier was sacked five times and threw three interceptions, while Brissett was sacked three times). The Panthers were 4 of 14 on third down (they went 2 of 4 on fourth down) and would actually rule the clock, keeping the ball for 32:21, while the Colts, holding the pigskin for 27:39, went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Jacksonville continued their struggle of a 2019 season, taking a 24-12 loss in Atlanta Sunday afternoon. Jacksonville trailed from start to finish, as the Falcons used a pair of first-quarter TDs from DeVonta Freeman (one rushing, one passing), taking a 17-3 lead with them to the break.

Atlanta out-rushed Jacksonville 135-115 with Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette leading all rushers with 71 yards (Brian Hill led Atlanta with 66 yards), while Ryan threw for 384 yards and a TD to Freeman (Ryan’s favorite target, Julio Jones, led all receievers with 10 catches, good for 166 yards) with Gardner Minshew II throwing for 181 yards and a TD to Chris Conley (Ryan was sacked once and threw a pair of interceptions, while Minshew was sacked three times). Atlanta was 7 of 13 on third down in the Big Peach and was somewhat “Grinch-like” with the ball, keeping it for 33:07, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:53, going 3 of 14 on third down, 3 of 4 on fourth down.

They met in week 11 in the Hoosier State and Jacksonville could never get themselves on track in Indianapolis as they fell to Jacoby Brissett and the Colts 33-13 at Lucas Oil Stadium. After Jacksonville’s D.J. Chark gave them a 7-0 lead in the first, the Colts evened things up with 35 seconds left in the quarter on a 13-yard run by RB Marlon Mack. Indianapolis then broke the tie on a 34-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri to take a 10-3 lead with them to the intermission, then scored 14 third quarter points unchallenged and added a 7-yard TD run by Nyheim Hines to widen the deficit. Jacksonville would score again late in the contest when Chark scored on a 20-yard TD toss from Nick Foles but the Colts then proceeded to add insult to injury when rookie LB Bobby Okereke scored on a defensive 2-point conversion to close things out.

The Colts rushed for 264 yards in the win, with Jonathan Williams (116 yards) and Mack (109 yards) leading the way, while Indianapolis held Jacksonville to a dismal season-low 29 yards. Brissett returned to the lineup, throwing for 148 yards with a TD toss to Marcus Johnson and had a rushing TD of his own, while Foles threw for 296 yards and the two TDs to Chark but was sacked twice and Brissett was sacked three times (both men threw an interception). The Colts went 4 of 11 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 33:52, while Jacksonville, keeping the ball for 26:08, went 6 of 14 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

The Colts were favored by 5 in the week 11 contest in the Hoosier State and easily covered, winning by 20 and both teams combined for 46 points, covering the 43 1/2 over/under. In round two in the Sunshine State, the Colts are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 43. Neither team will be going to the post-season and both teams will make their draft preparations on Monday. Colts cover the 4 in the Sunshine State and takes the win in north Florida.

Oakland (7-8) at Denver (6-9), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. A pair of AFC West/AFL foes meet in the Mile High City as Oakland travels to Denver to face off against the Broncos.

The Silver and Black played their final game in the state of California and came away with a 24-17 last Sunday over AFC West/AFL rival Los Angeles Chargers. Oakland led 14-7 at the intermission, then watch the Chargers pull themselves to within seven with 89 seconds left in the contest on a 27-yard field goal by Mark Badgley. Los Angeles then tried an onside kick, which Oakland recovered. The Raiders then proceeded to run out the clock and take the win in their final contest in the state of California.

Neither club breached the 100-yard barrier but Oakland out-rushed the Chargers 99-19 with Raiders RB DeAndre Washington leading the way with 85 yards and a TD. Rivers threw for 279 yards and was sacked once, while Derek Carr threw for 291 yards and a TD toss to WR Hunter Renfrow (Renfrow had seven catches for 107 yards; Carr was sacked three times, Rivers was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Oakland was 7 of 14 on third down and kept the ball to themselves for 33:24, while the Chargers kept the pigskin for 26:36, while going 3 of 11 on third down (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Denver gave Detroit their eighth contest in a row as the Broncos erased a 10-10 tie at the intermission and came away with 27-17 winners Sunday afternoon at Empower Field at Mile High. Broncos kicker Brian McManus gave the home team the lead for good, connecting on a 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter. Detroit’s Kenny Golladay would then catch a 3-yard TD pass from Daniel Blough to pull them to within four with 3:51 in the third before Denver scored 14 fourth-quarter points unchallenged, using TDs from WR DaeSean Hamilton and RB Phillip Lindsay to seal the win.

Lindsay led all rushers with 109 yards with the TD as the Broncos out-rushed Detroit 150-96 and Drew Lock threw for 192 yards with the Hamilton TD with no sacks or interceptions, while Blough threw for 117 yards with the Golladay TD with 4 sacks but no interceptions. Detroit went 4 of 11 on third down (the Lions were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:52, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 36:08, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in the season opener in Oakland and the Raiders held off a late Denver rally last Monday night at home to take a 24-16 decision. The Silver and Black led 14-0 at the half before Denver made their first dent on the scoreboard in the third when K Brian McManus kicked a pair of 26-yard field goals in the frame. Denver would pull themselves to within eight with 2:15 when Broncos QB Joe Flacco (269 yards, three sacks) and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 1-yard toss. The Broncos then tried and failed on the onside kick attempt, giving Oakland the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock. Oakland outrushed Denver 98-95 and Flacco threw for 268 yards with three sacks, while Derek Carr threw for 259 yards with a TD and no sacks (both Flacco and Carr did not throw an interception). Denver on third down tries went 6 of 13 and the Broncos kept the ball for 27:15, while the Silver and Black held on to the pigskin for 32:45, going 10 of 14 on third down tries. (neither club had a fourth down attempt)

Oakland was favored by 7 in the season opener in northern California and they covered, winning by 8 but the two teams missed the 42 over/under, tallying 40 points. Denver’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 41. Oakland’s playoff hopes are pretty much on life support and the Raiders need a lot of things to happen if they want to be the six seed in the AFC Championship round. As for the Broncos, they would love nothing more than to put Oakland out of their misery. Denver covers the 3 1/2 in the Mile High City and knocks the Raiders out of the post-season.

Washington (3-12) at Dallas (7-8), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. The records? Forget them. They STILL don’t like each other and don’t expect the exchange of Christmas greetings this week. Dallas and Dak Prescott, fighting for its playoff lives, host Washington in a MUST win game for the Cowboys in Jerry World. Both teams took losses on the East Coast last week.

The Redskins, with nothing really to play for, took Daniel Jones and the New York Giants to overtime before Big Blue prevailed in Landover, falling to the Giants 41-35 at Fed Ex Field. Washington trailed 28-14 at the intermission before they rallied in the second half of the contest, tying things up with 29 seconds left in regulation when Case Keenum (who took over for DeWayne Haskins) scored on a 1-yard run. It would be the last time that Washington would see the football as the Giants won the toss in overtime and Redskins fans watched with horror as the Giants used an 11-play, 66-yard drive that used 5:45 of the extra period and ending with Jones and Kenny Smith scoring on a 3-yard TD toss with 4:15 left to take the win.

Washington was out-rushed by Big Blue 206-80 with Sequan Barkley leading the way with 189 yards and a TD; Keenum threw for 158 yards and a passing TD to WR Cam Sims after taking over for Haskins (133 yards, 2 TD, 2 sacks, no interceptions), while Jones threw for 352 yards and five TDs (including the game-winner in overtime) with a sack but no interceptions. Both clubs were 8 of 14 on third down (neither had a fourth down attempt at Fed Ex Field) and Washington actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:48, while the Giants held the pigskin for 31:57.

Dallas watched the Philadelphia Eagles keep their playoff hopes alive in the City of Brotherly Love, holding off Dak Prescott and the Cowboys 17-9 at Century Link Field. Dallas found themselves being held by the Eagles (in first place in the East), to three Kai Forbath field goals in the late-afternoon contest, trailing 10-6 at the break, as the Eagles, who led from start to finish, held off a last-ditch Dallas rally in the closing minutes of the contest. Philadelphia held Dallas to 54 yards, while rushing for 118 yards, with Eagles RB Miles Sanders leading the way with 79 yards, including a 38-yard run that sealed the win for the home team. Carson Wentz threw for 319 yards and a TD to TE Dallas Goedert, while Dallas’ Dak Precott threw for 265 yards (Prescott was sacked twice, Wentz was sacked once and neither threw an interception). Philadelphia was 6 of 14 on third down (the Eagles were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball to themselves for 36:12, while Dallas held the pigskin for 23:48, going 3 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

They met in week two in Landover and after a scoreless first quarter at Washington, the Cowboys erased a 7-0 deficit in the second quarter and came away 31-21 winners at Fed Ex Field, thanks in part to TDs from Prescott to Devin Smith and Jason Witten to take the 14-7 lead with them to the break. Dallas would lead 21-7 with 4:30 left in the third period before Case Keenum (221 yards, TD, sack) and WR Paul Richardson Jr. connected on a 9-yard TD toss to pull themselves to within seven. Dallas would eventually restore order and come out of Landover with the win.

Dallas out-rushed Washington 213-47, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 111 yards and a TD, while Prescott threw for 269 yards and three TDs (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception). Dallas went 7 of 11 on third down tries at Landover and kept the ball for 33:22, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:38, going 2 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

In the week two contest in Landover, the Cowboys were favored and their 10-point win allowed them to cover the 5-point spread and the 52 combined points was more than enough to cover the 46 1/2 over/under. Dallas at home? Favored by 11. The over/under? 44 1/2. There will be scoreboard watching in East Rutherford and Arlington to see what the other team is doing and for the Cowboys, it has been a somewhat strange season where they’ve had chance after chance after chance to win the East. For the Redskins, it was a season that fell well short of expectations and cost Jay Gruden his job midway through the season. Fans in Landover have been singing “Hell, it’s the Redskins” a lot this season. Not this time. “Hail” is the word of the day. Washington shocks the world and takes the win in Arlington, knocking Dallas out of the post-season party.

Arizona (5-9-1) at Los Angeles Rams (8-7), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 719. The Rams play their final home game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as they host Arizona in an NFC West contest on the West Coast. Both teams were on the road last week, with Arizona taking a win out of Seattle, while the Rams let a lead against San Francisco get away from in Santa Clara.

The Desert Angry Birds damaged Seattle’s hopes of winning the NFC West Sunday afternoon in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks last Sunday, leaving Century Link Field 27-13 winners. Arizona broke a 7-7 first quarter tie, scoring 10 second-quarter points unchallenged, holding the Seahawks to a pair of Josh Myers field goals in the fourth to take the win. Arizona out-rushed Seattle 253-91 with Cardinals RB Kyle Drake leading all rushers with 166 yards and a pair of TDs, with Kyler Murray throwing for 118 yards and a TD (he was sacked once but did not throw an interception) before leaving the contest with an ankle injury, while Russell Wilson threw for 169 yards and TD (Wilson was sacked five times). Arizona went 5 of 15 on third down (the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Arizona ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:53, while the Seahawks were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 25:07.

The Rams let a 28-24 lead at the end of three quarters get away from them as San Francisco K Robbie Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with the 34-31 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara last Saturday evening. The Rams trailed 24-21 at the break, then took the lead with 5:06 left in the third when Jared Goff and WR Cooper Kupp connnected on a 21-yard TD toss. The 49ers would proceed to reclaim the lead with 6:06 left in the contest when QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Los Angeles then re-tied the contest on a 52-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with 2:30 left in regulation. That would be all the time that the 49ers need, as they would use that entire 2:30, using 9 plays and 60 yards and ending with Gould booting a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

San Francisco out-rushed the Rams (who led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter) 119-72, with 49ers RB Raheem Mostert leading the way with 53 yards and a TD, while Todd Gurley led the Rams with 48 yards and a pair of TDs. Goff threw for 323 yards with a pair of TDs (including the toss to Kupp) and an interception (Rams TE Tyler Higbee led all recievers with 104 yards on nine catches, while teammate Robert Woods had eight catches for 117 yards), while Garoppolo threw for 248 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Garoppolo was sacked six times, while his favorite target, TE George Kittle, had five catches for 79 yards). The Rams were 5 of 13 on third down tries and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:21, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 27:39 (including the final 2:30 of the contest), going 4 for 10 on third down tries.

They would meet in week 13 in the desert and the Desert Angry Birds were held to a fourth-quarter TD by Murray as the Los Angeles Rams came into Glendale last Sunday and left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. Arizona had trouble getting themselves on track as the Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half. Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run.

Arizona would be held by the Rams to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest, the Rams were favored by 4 in Glendale and they would cover, winning by 27 but both teams missed the 46 1/2 over/under, as they would tally 41 points. The Rams are favored again, this time by 7 with the over/under 45. The Rams are trying to end their season above the .500 mark and move into their new stadium with a winning record, while the Desert Angry Birds are looking for revenge from their week 13 drubbing in Glendale. Arizona will have to keep looking. Rams cover the 7 and win on the Left Coast.

San Francisco (11-3) at Seattle (11-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. First place on the line in the NFC West as San Francisco makes their way up I-5 to face off against the Seattle Seahawks in prime time in the Pacific Northwest.

San Francisco K Robbie Gould sent 49ers fans home happy with the 34-31 win at Levis’ Stadium in Santa Clara last Saturday evening. The Rams trailed 24-21 at the break, then took a 28-24 lead with 5:06 left in the third when Jared Goff and WR Cooper Kupp would connect on a 21-yard TD toss. The 49ers reclaimed the lead with 6:06 left in the contest when QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle connected on a 7-yard TD toss. Los Angeles then re-tied the contest on a 52-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein with 2:30 left in regulation. That would be all the time that the 49ers need, as they would use that entire 2:30, using 9 plays and 60 yards and ending with Gould booting a 33-yard field goal as time expired.

San Francisco out-rushed the Rams (who led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter) 119-72, with 49ers RB Raheem Mostert leading the way with 53 yards and a TD, while Todd Gurley led the Rams with 48 yards and a pair of TDs. Goff threw for 323 yards with a pair of TDs (including the toss to Kupp) and an interception (Rams TE Tyler Higbee led all recievers with 104 yards on nine catches, while teammate Robert Woods had eight catches for 117 yards), while Garoppolo threw for 248 yards with a TD and a pair of interceptions (Garoppolo was sacked six times, while his favorite target, TE George Kittle, had five catches for 79 yards). The Rams were 5 of 13 on third down tries and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:21, while the 49ers kept the pigskin for 27:39 (including the final 2:30 of the contest), going 4 for 10 on third down tries.

Seattle’s hopes of winning the NFC West Sunday afternoon in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks last Sunday were damaged by Arizona, with the Desert Angry Birds leaving Century Link Field 27-13 winners. Arizona broke a 7-7 first quarter tie, scoring 10 second-quarter points unchallenged, holding the Seahawks to a pair of Josh Myers field goals in the fourth to take the win.

Arizona out-rushed Seattle 253-91 with Cardinals RB Kyle Drake leading all rushers with 166 yards and a pair of TDs, with Kyler Murray throwing for 118 yards and a TD (he was sacked once but did not throw an interception) before leaving the contest with an ankle injury, while Russell Wilson threw for 169 yards and TD (Wilson was sacked five times). Arizona went 5 of 15 on third down (the Desert Angry Birds were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and Arizona ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:53, while the Seahawks were a dismal 1 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 25:07.

They met on a Monday night week 10 in Santa Clara and San Francisco fell out of the ranks of the undefeated against Seattle, blowing a chance to win over their NFC West foes in overtime at Levis’ Stadium and fell to the Seahawks 27-24. The 49ers led Seattle 10-7 at the half before the Seahawks took control of things in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in that frame unchallenged when Javeon Clowney recovered a fumble, returning it 10 yards for a TD and added a 1-yard run by Chris Carson for a 21-10 lead. San Francisco would storm back in the final 15 minutes of action in regulation and tied things up with one second left on a Chris McLaughlin field goal from 47 yards.

Seattle would get the ball in the overtime and made their way down the field in hopes of ending the contest with a TD but Russell Wilson was picked off by LB Dre Greenlaw, who ran the ball back to Seattle’s 49-yard line, ending the drive. The 49ers then had a chance to send their fans home happy but the football gods were not going the 49ers way, as the drive stalled and McLaughlin missed a 47-yard try that would have ended the contest.

The Seahawks got the ball back and San Francisco held them in check, forcing a Seattle punt. San Francisco could not do anything after three Jimmy Garapollo passes went incomplete. The 49ers punted the ball back to Seattle with 85 seconds left in the extra period and Seattle made sure the 49ers would never see the pigskin again, using a 7-play, 40-yard drive that took 85 seconds of clock and ended when Jason Myers connected on a 42-yard field goal to end the 49ers’ bid for a perfect season.

Seattle out-rushed San Francisco 147-87, with Carson leading all rushers with 89 yards and the TD. Wilson threw for 232 yards in the overtime contest, while Garapollo threw for 248 yards (both threw a TD, both were sacked five times and both threw an interception) in the Monday night affair. San Francisco went 6 for 15 on third down tries in Santa Clara (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:41, while Seattle kept the ball for 35:19, while going 7 for 15 on third down tries.

In the week 10 contest in Santa Clara, the 49ers were favored by 6 1/2 but Seattle would wind up winning by 3. The two teams did manage to cover the 46 1/2 over/under, tallying 51 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the 49ers again, this time making them 3-point favorites with a 47 over/under. A lot is at stake here. The winner? They are NFC West champs; the loser? they get to be the Wild Card team and play next Saturday or Sunday. The 49ers want revenge from their loss in Santa Clara in week 10, while the Seahawks, who reached into their history bag and resigned RB Marshawn Lynch, wants to win the West and perhaps have that first-round bye and possibly host. It’ll be closer than the 3 but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, crowning themselves kings of the West.

Winless no more!

The Cincinnati Bengals became the last team in the NFL to go without a win and they did it at home last Sunday against the New York Jets, coming away 22-6 winners at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals fans, you can finally exhale.

It’s week 14, which means that there’s not a lot of time left for those teams that want that playoff spot to get it. When the 2019 season comes to an end the Sunday before New Year’s Day, there will be 12 teams that will fight for the Lombardi Trophy, while the other 20 will be either hiring new coaches and/or getting ready for the draft.

Speaking of the playoffs (PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!… apologies to coach Jim Mora), there are more possible scenarios this weekend. That means that there’s going to be more confusion than a mouse in a burlesque show (sorry, Foghorn Leghorn!), so take notes. There will be a quiz afterward.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 14

AFC

CLINCHED: None

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Baltimore clinches AFC North division title with:
Baltimore win + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
Baltimore tie + Pittsburgh loss

Baltimore clinches playoff berth with:
Baltimore win OR
Baltimore tie + Houston loss or tie OR
Baltimore tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie + Oakland-Tennessee tie

Buffalo (9-3) vs. Baltimore (10-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS

Buffalo clinches playoff berth with:
Buffalo win + OAK loss or tie + Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title with:
Kansas City win + Oakland loss

New England (10-2) vs. Kansas City (8-4), Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

New England clinches playoff berth with:
New England win OR
New England tie + Pittsburgh loss OR
New England tie + Houston loss or tie OR
New England tie + Tennessee loss or tie OR
Houston loss + Indianapolis loss or tie + Oakland-Tennessee tie

NFC

CLINCHED: New Orleans Saints – NFC South Division

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:
San Francisco win + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

Seattle (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-5), Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

Seattle clinches playoff berth with:
Seattle win or tie

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 13: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ 20-17 victory over San Francisco. Jackson has four games with at least 100 rushing yards in 2019, surpassing Michael Vick (three games in both 2004 and 2006) and Russell Wilson (three in 2014) for the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Baltimore has rushed for 2,494 yards this season, the third-most rushing yards by a team in its first 12 games of a season since 1970. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (2,586 rushing yards) and the 1975 Buffalo Bills (2,505) had more.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 125.4 passer rating in the Packers’ 31-13 win at the New York Giants. Rodgers has 23 career games with at least four touchdown passes, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (23 games) for the fourth-most such games in NFL history. Only Peyton Manning (35 games), Drew Brees (34) and Tom Brady (29, entering Sunday night) have more.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who appeared in his 25th career game, registered 115 scrimmage yards (83 rushing, 32 receiving) on Sunday. It marked his 17th career game with at least 100 scrimmage yards, tied with Billy Sims (17 games) for the fourth-most such games by a player in his first 25 career games. Only Edgerrin James (21 games), Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (19) and Ezekiel Elliott (18) had more.

Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Delvin Hodges, making his second career start, threw a touchdown pass and recorded a 95.7 passer rating in the Steelers’ 20-13 win against Cleveland. Hodges, who won his first career start in Week 6, joins Ed Rubbert (1987) as the only undrafted rookie quarterbacks to win each of their first two career starts since 1970.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry rushed for 149 yards and a touchdown in the Titans’ 31-17 win at Indianapolis. Henry, who rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 and had 159 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns in Week 12, is the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 145 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1958), Eric Dickerson (1984) and O.J. Simpson (1976), as well as Adrian Peterson (2012).

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey registered seven receptions and 102 scrimmage yards (58 receiving, 44 rushing) in the Panthers’ Week 13 loss against Washington. He has 75 receptions through 12 games in the 2019 season. McCaffrey has recorded at least 75 catches in each of his first three NFL seasons and is the fifth running back in NFL history with at least three career seasons of at least 75 receptions, joining Le’Veon Bell (three seasons), Larry Centers (five), Roger Craig (three) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (five). McCaffrey has 2,162 career receiving yards and surpassed Roger Craig (2,118 receiving yards) for the most receiving yards by a running back in his first three seasons since 1966.

Three rookies – Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp (31-yard interception return), Kansas City safety Juan Thornhill (46-yard interception return) and Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White (14-yard fumble recovery) – each recorded a defensive touchdown on Sunday. With three defensive touchdowns, Week 13 marks the third week since 1990 in which three rookies each recorded a defensive touchdown, joining Week 17 of the 2004 season (Robert Geathers, DeAngelo Hall and Jonathan Vilma) and Week 6 of the 1999 season (Pro Football Hall of Famer Champ Bailey, Andy Katzenmoyer and Donald Mitchell).

Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders caught a one-yard touchdown pass from punter Matt Haack in the Dolphins’ 37-31 win over Philadelphia. Sanders, with his first career touchdown catch, is the first kicker with a receiving touchdown since Jim Turner (October 16, 1977).

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz registered three receptions on Sunday. He has 70 receptions in 2019, his fifth career season with at least 70 catches, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (five) for the fourth-most such seasons by a tight end in NFL history.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff passed for 424 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 118.0 passer rating in the team’s 34-7 win at Arizona. Goff, in his fourth NFL season, has passed for at least 400 yards and two touchdowns in four career games, tied with Dak Prescott (four) for the second-most such games in a player’s first four seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (seven) had more.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw his 70th career touchdown pass in the Chiefs’ 40-9 win over Oakland. Mahomes reached 70 career touchdown passes in his 27th career game, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (29 games) as the fastest player to reach 70 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made . The NFL has designated Sunday’s Cincinnati-Cleveland matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest includes the teams closest to the birthplace of the NFL. In 1920, the NFL formed in Northeast Ohio, where Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay organized the first meeting of fellow owners. Four years later, at nearby Massillon Washington High School, quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Brown discovered the sport that would shape his life. By 1946, as the first coach of the Cleveland franchise when it launched as part of the All-American Football Conference, Brown was so synonymous with success that by popular demand he became the team’s namesake, despite his humble objections. After entering the NFL in 1950, Brown’s team won three league championships (1950, 1954-55). When the AFL placed an expansion franchise in Cincinnati during the mid-1960s, Brown joined the team as general manager and head coach, then named his new team the Bengals in time for the club’s inaugural 1968 season. One of Brown’s first Cincinnati assistant coaches was Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Walsh.

BRADY, BREES IN RACE FOR HALLOWED MARK: As NFL teams jockey for position in the 2019 playoff race, New England quarterback Tom Brady and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees have one of the league’s most significant all-time records in their sights: Most career touchdown passes, currently held by Peyton Manning (539). Entering Week 14, Brady (535) and Brees (532) have Manning on their radar screens.

The players with the most career touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER: TEAMS (YEARS; TD PASSES)
Peyton Manning: Indianapolis and Denver (1998-2015; 539)
Tom Brady: New England (2000-present; 535)
Drew Brees: San Diego Chargers and New Orleans (2001-present; 532)
Brett Favre: ATLANTA, Green Bay, New York Jets and Minnesota (1991-2010; 508)(HOF)
Dan Marino: Miami (1983-99; 420)(HOF)
Philip Rivers: San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2004-present; 391)
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh (2004-present; 363)
Eli Manning: New York Giants (2004-present; 362)
Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay (2005-present; 360)
Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota and New York Giants (1961-1978; 342)(HOF)
(HOF) Hall of Fame

Brady, whose Patriots hosts Kansas City Sunday in Foxboro, is 47-12 (.797) during his career in starts following a regular-season loss.

EASTERN ILLINOIS CONNECTIONS IN THE BIG EASY: When San Francisco travels to the Big Easy to meet New Orleans Sunday in a matchup of 10-win teams, one former Eastern Illinois quarterback, the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, will square off against another former Eastern Illinois field general, Saints head coach Sean Payton. Also, the father of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, also played at Eastern Illinois, where a serious injury ended his playing career but helped him discover his passion for coaching. The school also produced former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.

If San Francisco this week clinches a playoff berth, the 49ers would become the first NFL club that didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season to earn a postseason invitation. In every season since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR’S NIGHTMARE: In one of Week 14’s premier games, Baltimore puts the league’s longest winning streak, eight games, on the line when they face Buffalo Sunday. The contest not only matches two of the AFC’s best teams, it also matches two of the NFL’s best dual-threat quarterbacks. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, whose 977 net rushing yards are more than five NFL teams this year, also ranks fourth in the NFL with a 109.6 passer rating. Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 430 rushing yards, has a fourth-quarter passer rating of 114.0.

Sunday’s game will have more combined rushing yards (1,407) by starting quarterbacks than any contest in NFL history.
Additionally, Jackson needs 23 rushing yards to become the second quarterback in NFL history with a 1,000-yard rushing season, and 63 to post the most rushing yards in a single season by an NFL quarterback, surpassing Michael Vick, who had 1,039 in 2006.

As a team, the Ravens are on pace for one of the most prolific rushing campaigns in the NFL’s 100 seasons. Since the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, Baltimore’s 207.8 net rushing yards per game are on pace to finish 10 yards better than any other team in that span.

The teams with the most net rushing yards per game since 1978:

TEAM – SEASON (GM; ATT-YARDS; YDS/GM)
Baltimore – 2019 (12; 445-2,494; 207.8)
New England – 1978 (16; 671-3,165; 197.8)
Kansas City – 1978 (16; 663-2,986; 186.6)
Chicago – 1984 (16; 674-2,974; 185.9)
ATLANTA – 2006 (16; 537-2,939; 183.7)

THE FOURTH QUARTER: As the NFL makes its final turn toward the regular-season finish line, each club has just four games remaining, and 26 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIV. Two of those teams, Tennessee and oakland battle in a key AFC contest Sunday on the West Coast.

The game features several of the NFL’s top rookies. Oakland’s Josh Jacobs leads all NFL rookies in rushing yards (1,061), rushing touchdowns (seven) and scrimmage yards (1,207). Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown leads AFC rookies with 626 receiving yards. On defense, Oakland’s Maxx Crosby (7.5) and Clelin Ferrell (3.5) are the NFL’s only pair of rookie teammates with three-or-more sacks each.

ROOKIE QUARTERBACKS CONTINUE TO WIN GAMES: Arizona’s Kyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, leads Arizona at home against Pittsburgh Sunday. Murray and the Steelers’ Delvin Hodges, an undrafted rookie, are two of the six rookie quarterbacks to win a game this season. Last week, Denver’s Drew Lock joined a group that includes Washington’s Dwayne Haskins, the Giants’ Daniel Jones and Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. That group of six represents the second-highest number of rookie quarterbacks to win an NFL start in league history, trailing only the 1987 season (seven). Detroit’s David Blough, who plays at Minnesota Sunday, gives the 2019 rookies an opportunity to tie the single-season league record.

BATTLE OF OHIO: When Cincinnati makes the cross-state trip to play in Cleveland Sunday, the teams will meet for the 92nd time. Sunday marks the first Bengals-Browns game in 35 years in which each club has a first-year head coach. Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor and Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens are the first rookie head-coaching pair in the series since December 2, 1984, when the Bengals’ Sam Wyche beat the Browns’ Marty Schottenheimer on an overtime field goal, 20-17.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 14

RUSHING INTO HISTORY: Baltimore enters Week 14 with the league’s top rushing attack, having rushed for the third-most yards (2,494) by a team in its first 12 games of a season since 1970. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins (2,586 rushing yards) and the 1975 Buffalo Bills (2,505) had more.

Last week, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, surpassing Michael Vick (three games in both 2004 and 2006) and Russell Wilson (three in 2014) for the most games with at least 100 rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. Jackson has now rushed for 977 yards in 2019.

With 63 rushing yards on Sunday at Buffalo, Jackson would surpass Vick (1,039 rushing yards in 2006) for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history.

50,000 IN SIGHT: Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ranks sixth in the NFL with 3,246 passing yards this season and has 49,966 passing yards in 185 games during his 12-year NFL career.

With 34 passing yards on Sunday against Carolina, Ryan would become the second-fastest player to reach 50,000 career passing yards in NFL history.

The players to reach 50,000 passing yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAMS (GAMES TO 50,000 PASS YARDS)
Drew Brees, San Diego and New Orleans (183)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (191)
Dan Marino, Miami (193) (HOF)
Philip Rivers, San Diego (196)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (186)*
*On Sunday

TAKING THE NEXT STEP IN TENNESSEE: Tennessee enters Week 14 on a three-game winning streak, averaging 36 points per game since Week 10 – the second-most in the NFL over that span.

Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill leads the NFL with a 113.9 passer rating entering Week 14, having completed more than 75 percent of his pass attempts with a passer rating of 130 or higher in each of his past two games.

On Sunday against Oakland, Tannehill can join Aaron Rodgers (three games in 2011) as the only players to complete at least 75 percent of their passes with a passer rating of 130 or higher (min. 10 attempts) in three consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

Additionally, with at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 125 or higher, Tannehill would join Russell Wilson (five games in 2015) as the only players with four consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 125 or higher in NFL history.

Since Week 10, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing yards (496) and rushing touchdowns (five).
With at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown against Oakland on Sunday, Henry can become the fifth player with at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in NFL history.

The players with at least 150 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (2006 – 4) (HOF)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City (2005 – 4)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002 – 4)
Terrell Davis, Denver (1998 – 4) (HOF)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

FIRST TO 2,000: Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 1,811 scrimmage yards through 12 games in 2019.

With at least 189 scrimmage yards on Sunday at Atlanta, McCaffrey would tie for the fewest games to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season in NFL history.

The players to reach 2,000 scrimmage yards in a season in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – GAMES TO REACH 2,000)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1963 – 13)(HOF)
Priest Holmes, Kansas City (2002 – 13)
Chris Johnson, Tennessee (2009 – 13)
Walter Payton, Chicago (1977 – 13) (HOF)
O.J. Simpson, Buffalo (1975 – 13) (HOF)
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina (2019 – 12)*
*Has 1,811 scrimmage yards entering Sunday

NFC SHOWDOWN IN BIG EASY: New Orleans (10-2), who clinched the NFC South last week, hosts San Francsico on Sunday in a matchup of two of the league’s most talented backfields.

Since entering the NFL in 2017, New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara ranks second among running backs with 1,979 receiving yards and ranks fourth across all players with 4,177 scrimmage yards.

Kamara – who has 587 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards this season – needs 56 receiving yards on Sunday against San Francisco, to become the third player with at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons in NFL history.

The players with at least 500 rushing and 500 receiving yards in each of their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Abner Haynes, Dallas Texans (1960-62)
Herschel Walker, Dallas Cowboys (1986-88)
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans (2017-18)*
*Has 587 rushing yards and 444 receiving yards in 2019

Meanwhile, San Francisco features one of the most balanced rushing attacks in the NFL this season. Led by running backs Matt Breida (542 rushing yards), Raheem Mostert (539) and Tevin Coleman (454), the 49ers boast the NFC’s top rushing offense (148 yards per game) in 2019.

With 46 rushing yards from Coleman, San Francisco would become the first team with three running backs to each have at least 500 rushing yards in a season since the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs, when Priest Holmes (892 rushing yards), Larry Johnson (581) and Derrick BlaylockK (539) accomplished the feat.

Additionally, if Coleman reaches 500 rushing yards for the season on Sunday, San Francisco would become the first team to have three running backs with at least 500 rushing yards each in its first 13 games of a season since the 1978 New England Patriots.

AMONG THE GREATS: Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce leads the AFC with 923 receiving yards this season. With at least 77 receiving yards on Sunday at New England, Kelce would become the fourth tight end with at least four seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS WITH 1,000+ RECIEVING YARDS)
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City (4)(HOF)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (4)
Jason Witten, Dallas (4)
Travis Kelce, Kansas City (3)*
*Has 923 receiving yards in 2019

If Kelce reaches 1,000 receiving yards in 2019, he would become the first tight end with at least 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons in NFL history, surpassing Greg Olsen (three seasons from 2014-16).

MAN OF STEEL: The Pittsburgh Steeler defense leads the NFL with 30 takeaways and has an AFC-leading 43 sacks this season, led by linebacker T.J. Watt’s AFC-high 12.5 sacks.

If Watt – who has at least a half sack in nine consecutive games – records at least half a sack against Arizona on Sunday, he would become the fifth player to have at least half a sack in 10 consecutive games since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with at least half a sack in 10 consecutive games in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Chris Jones, Kansas City (2018 – 11)
Michael Strahan, New York Giants (2002 – 10) (HOF)
Jevon Kearse, Tennessee (1999 – 10)
Simon Fletcher, Denver (1991 – 10)
T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh (2019 – 9)*

*Active streak

Week 14 got underway in the Windy City as Chicago held off Dallas at Soldier Field Thursday night and ends in the City of Brotherly Love as Philadelphia hosts the New York Giants in a game that Philadelphia needs for any chance in the post-season. As for last week? 8-8 for the week (while not great, isn’t bad because that keeps us at or above .500 for another week), 88-59 for the season. With all of that being said, here are the picks for Sunday and Monday in week 14.

Carolina (5-7) at ATLANTA (3-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of NFC South rivals who met a few weeks ago in Charlotte meet again, as it’s Carolina’s turn to make the 249-mile, 4-hour trip south to face off against Atlanta in the Big Peach. Both teams took losses at home in last week’s action and both look to gain a little ground on New Orleans in the division and Carolina will have new leadership on their sideline after the Panthers relieved Ron Rivera of his coaching duties, with secondary coach Perry Fewell in as the team’s interim coach.

Carolina let a 14-12 lead against Washington get away from them at Bank of America Stadium and saw their hopes of a last-second comeback fall short as the Panthers fell to the Redskins 29-21. Carolina took that 1-point into the intermission, thanks to a pair of Kyle Allen TDs in the first 30 minutes of action. Washington would use a pair of Daniel Hopkins field goals and a 1-yard TD run by Derek Guice to narrow the deficit, then went on to score 17 unchallenged points (Hopkins field goal and TDs from Guice and Adrian Peterson) in the second half before the Panthers would make the contest an 8-point affair with 1:51 when Allen scored on a 17-yard run. Carolina would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and got themselves as close as Washington’s 3-yard line when Allen was sacked and fumbled the ball, with Washington recovering to end the threat.

Washington outrushed Carolina 248-65 with Guice leading the way with 129 yards and a pair of TDs, while Peterson tallied 99 yards on the ground. Allen threw for 278 yards with a pair of TDs but found himself being sacked seven times with an interception, while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 147 yards and despite being sacked five times, did not have an interception. Carolina was 5 of 16 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:23, while the Redskins were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:37 and went 3 for 11 on third down.

Atlanta dropped their second NFC South game and their second home game, falling to divisional rival New Orleans 26-18 in the Big Peach Thanksgiving night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New Orleans, who clinched the NFC South, would lead 17-9 at the intermission, then got three field goals from Will Lutz before Atlanta stormed back in the final period, using a 13-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Russell Gage, then a successful onside kick and a 43-yard field goal by Youngho Koo with 1:56 left in the contest.

Atlanta would get the jump on New Orleans again with another successful onside kick after Koo’s field goal, getting the ball on their 47-yard line. The Falcons’ final rally fell short as Ryan would be sacked by Cameron Jordan to seal the win. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 95-89 and Ryan threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, while Drew Brees threw for 184 yards (Ryan was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions). Atlanta was 6 of 16 on third down tries in the Big Peach (they were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:37, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 24:23, going 2 of 10 on third down tried.

They met in the Tar Heel State in week 11 and the Falcons manhandled Carolina 29-3. Atlanta scored the first 26 points of the contest uncontested (they led 20-0 at the intermission) at Bank of America Stadium and never looked back, holding the Panthers to a 31-yard field goal by Jeff Slye early in the final quarter to take the win.

Atlanta, getting three field goals from Youngho Koo, a 78-yard punt return from Kenjon Barner and a 6-yard TD pass from Ryan to Calvin Ridley, held the Panthers to 77 yards of rushing (McCaffery would lead Carolina with 70 of those yards), while tallying 54 yards of their own. Ryan threw for 311 yards with the TD toss to Ridley with three sacks but no interceptions, while Allen threw for 325 yards with five sacks and four interceptions. Atlanta on third down? 6 of 14 but they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1 and ruled the clock, keeping the ball from the Panthers for 31:26, while Carolina, going 2 of 14 on third down (3 of 5 on fourth down) and held the ball for 28:34.

In the week 11 contest at Bank of America Stadium, Carolina was favored by 6 1/2 and Atlanta pulled the upset, winning by 26. The 49 1/2 over/under stayed safe, as both clubs combined for only 32 points. The odds makers like the Falcons at home, favoring them by 2 with a 48 over/under. The Panthers are looking for revenge from their week 11 loss in Charlotte, while the Falcons would love nothing more than to let Carolina know that the first time was not a fluke. Atlanta completes the sweep at home in the Big Peach and covers the 2.

Baltimore (10-2) at Buffalo (9-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC contenders meet along the shore of Lake Erie as the Baltimore Ravens (first place in the AFC North) travel to Orchard Park to face off against the Buffalo Bills (second place in the AFC East). Both teams took huge wins in last week’s action.

Ravens K Jeff Tucker sent Baltimore fans home happy last Sunday in Charm City as Baltimore left M&T Bank Stadium 20-17 winners over San Francisco in a contest that some considered a possible Super Bowl matchup. The Ravens led the 49ers 17-14 at the break before the 49ers tied the contest with 3:37 left in the third on a 32-yard field goal. San Francisco and Baltimore exchanged the ball four times from the time the 49ers tied the contest until the 6:28 of the fourth quarter, when the Ravens went on a long drive that used 12 plays, 34 yards of field and all of the 6:28 left in the contest to give Tucker a chance to end the contest in regulation. Tucker did not disappoint Ravens fans that stayed in the rain and wind, booting a 49-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

Baltimore outrushed the 49ers 178-174 with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD (Jackson also threw for 105 yards and a TD toss to TE Mark Andrews; San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 165 yards and a TD. Garoppolo was sacked twice, Jackson was sacked once and neither threw an interception), while San Francisco was led by Robert Mostert with 146 yards on the ground. Baltimore was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Ravens were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and including the final 6:28 of the contest, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:26, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Buffalo erased a 7-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter against Dallas as the Bills came away with the 26-15 win last Thursday at AT&T Stadium. The Bills scored their 26 points from the second quarter to the midway point of the fourth quarter unchallenged to take the win in the Lone Star State. Although they trailed 13-7 at the intermission, Dallas could never really get themselves on track at home, as they would lose their second contest in three games.

Buffalo outrushed Dallas 124-103 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading all rushers with 71 yards, while Dak Prescott threw for 355 yards and a pair of TDs (one to TE Jason Witten) with Bills QB Josh Allen throwing for 231 yards and a TD pass to former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Beasley burned his former team for 110 yards on six catches). Allen, who had a rushing TD in the third quarter, did not have an interception, while Prescott threw a pick (both were sacked four times). Dallas was 7 of 13 on third down (the Cowboys were 1 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:42, while the Bills ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:18, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 5-3, the Ravens have outscored the Bills 180-112 and Baltimore has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 47-3 win in Charm City last year (Buffalo’s last win in the series came in 2013 in upstate New York by a final of 23-20).

Their 2018 meeting was in Charm City at M&T Bank Stadium and the Ravens scored 26 first-half points in the season opener unchallenged to lead 26-0. Buffalo’s only points in the contest came in the third quarter on a 35-yard field goal by Stepehn Hauschka late in the period. Baltimore would then go in the contest to slam the door shut on the Bills.

While rushing for 117 yards in the win at home, the Ravens held Buffalo to 83 yards and Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw for 236 yards with three TDs and a sack but did not throw an interception, while Bills signal caller Nathan Peterman threw for 24 yards with a pair of interceptions and three sacks before being replaced by Josh Allen (74 yards), who was sacked three times himself. Baltimore was 6 of 14 on third down and kept the ball for 35:14, while the Bills kept the pigskin for 24:46, going 2 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore’s win by 44 points easily allowed the Ravens to cover the 7 1/2 point spread in Charm City and both clubs covered the 39 1/2 over/under with 50 points. The odds makers in Vegas like the Ravens as 5 1/2 point favorites along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 43. Both clubs are looking to be part of the playoff party and both teams could get their invite and both clubs have played some pretty good football of late. Ravens make this one closer than the 5 1/2 but Buffalo circles the wagons in upstate New York and takes the win.

Cincinnati (1-11) at Cleveland (5-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. They share the same state and the same divison. They’re separtated by 249 miles and a 3 1/2 drive up Interstate 71. A pair of AFC North rivals meet along the shores of Lake Erie as Cleveland and Baker Mayfield host the Cincinnati Bengals at First Energy Stadium.

Cincinati fans were in a very good mood last Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium as they held the New York Jets to a pair of first half field goals, breaking their 13-game losing streak (they lost the last two games of the 2018 campaign) to take a 22-6 win along the shores of the Ohio River. Cincinnati led 17-6 at the intermission, then floored the gas as they would score five third quarter points (safety, Randy Bulloch field goal) unchallenged to seal New York’s fate.

GangGreen did outrush Cincinnati 62-44 and Sam Darnold threw for 239 yards, while Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton returned to action and threw for 243 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd (Dalton was sacked once, Darnold was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 17 on third down tries, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:19, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:41 and went 5 of 14 on third down.

Cleveland saw an early 10-0 lead at Pittsburgh get away from them last Sunday as the Steelers got a measure of revenge from their loss along the shores of Lake Erie two weeks ago to take a 20-17 win at Heinz Field. The Browns used a 31-yard field goal by Austin Siebert and a 15-yard TD toss from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt to score the first points of the contest unchallenged before the Steelers got themselves back on track, tying the contest with Chris Boswell’s 39-yard field goal and a 30-yard TD pass from Delvin Hodges to WR James Washigton with a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the intermission tied at 10-10.

Pittsburgh would then add a 1-yard run by Benny Snell, Jr. and a 29-yard field goal by Boswell to lead 20-10 early in the final period. Siebert then pulled the Browns to within seven with 7:30 left in regulation on a 34-yard field goal. The Browns and Steelers would each get the ball, only to punt to the other team after Siebert’s field goal and Cleveland would get the ball back with 1:45 left. After Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, the Browns got the ball at their 35 and would get as close as their own 40, when the drive and Cleveland’s hopes ended when Mayfield was picked off by Joe Haden, ending the threat.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 124-106 with Snell leading the way with 63 yards (Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 58 yards on 16 carries). Hodges threw for 212 yards in the win, while Mayfield threw for 196 (both threw an interception as well as a TD; Mayfield was sacked five times, while Hodges was sacked once. Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (the Browns were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:06 to Pittsburgh’s 27:54; the Steelers were 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

The Bengals lead the series 50-41 and have outscored the Browns 1,986-1,806. Cleveland did sweep the series last year, taking both wins in the Buckeye State (Cincinnati’s last win in the series came in 2017, when the Bengals were 30-16 winners in Cincinnati).

The first meeting… week 12 along the banks of the Ohio River. Cleveland left Paul Brown Stadium in that first meeting 35-20. The Browns led 28-7 at the break and pretty much held their instate/AFC North rivals in check. While Cincinnati outrushed Cleveland 129-84 (Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon led all rushers with 89 yards, Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 88 yards), Mayfield threw for 258 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Chubb, who also had a rushing TD) without a sack or interception, while Jeff Driskel threw for 155 yards with a TD to Tyler Boyd before being replaced by Andy Dalton (100 yards, TD, interception). The Browns were 5 of 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:04, while the Bengals kept the pigskin for 27:56, going 4 of 12 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Cleveland completed the sweep of the Buckeye State series in week 16 at First Energy Field, coming away 26-18 winners in the rematch. After a scoreless first quarter, the Browns took a 16-0 lead with them to the intermission, then led 23-0 at the end of 45 minutes of play before the Bengals would storm their way back to within eight with 2:56 left in the contest but got no closer. Chubb led all rushers with 112 yards as the Browns outrushed Cincinnati 146-102 (Mixon led the Bengals with 68 yards) and Mayfield threw for 284 yards and three TDs without a sack or interception, while Driskel (who took over for Dalton), threw for 133 yards with three TDs (Driskel was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Bengals were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:29, while the Browns ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 35:31 and was 5 of 12 on third down tries (both teams were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

In the week 12 contest in Cincinnati, the Bengals were favored by 3 and the Browns covered, winning by 15 and both clubs combined for 55 points, allowing the 47 1/2 over/under to be covered. In the week 16 affair at First Energy Field, the Browns barely covered the 7-point spread, winning by 8 but both clubs barely missed the 45 over/under by a single point. Cleveland’s favored by 8 1/2 along the shores of Lake Erie and the over/under’s 42 1/2. The Browns look to keep their playoff hopes in tact, while the Bengals look to take their second win in a row. Cincinnati wins on the road but expect Cleveland to make the contest closer than the 8 1/2.

Washington (3-9) at Green Bay (9-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Green Bay returns to the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst to face off against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field. Both teams were winners on the road, chipping away at early deficits in the process.

Washington chipped away at a 14-12 deficit lead against Carolina at Bank of America Stadium, then held off a late Carolina rally to give the Redskins a 29-21 win in the Tar Heel State. Carolina took that 1-point into the intermission, thanks to a pair of Kyle Allen TDs in the first 30 minutes of action. Washington would use a pair of Daniel Hopkins field goals and a 1-yard TD run by Derek Guice to narrow the deficit, then went on to score 17 unchallenged points (Hopkins field goal and TDs from Guice and Adrian Peterson) in the second half before the Panthers would make the contest an 8-point affair with 1:51 when Allen scored on a 17-yard run. Carolina would get the ball back with 1:51 left in the contest and got themselves as close as Washington’s 3-yard line when Allen was sacked and fumbled the ball, with Washington recovering to end the threat.

Washington outrushed Carolina 248-65 with Guice leading the way with 129 yards and a pair of TDs, while Peterson tallied 99 yards on the ground. Allen threw for 278 yards with a pair of TDs but found himself being sacked seven times with an interception, while Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins threw for 147 yards and despite being sacked five times, did not have an interception. Carolina was 5 of 16 on third down (the Panthers were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:23, while the Redskins were rulers of the clock, keeping the pigskin for 30:37 and went 3 for 11 on third down. It would be head coach Ron Rivera’s final game with the Panthers, as they relieved him of his duties Tuesday afternoon.

Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers went into Met Life Stadium last Sunday and left the Meadowlands 31-13 winners. The Packers erased a 7-7 after Russell Shepherd and Doug Jones connected on an 18 yard TD toss with 3:16 left in the first when Rodgers and rookie WR Allan Lazard connected on a 37-yard TD pass to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Big Blue trailed 17-10 at the half and would rally to make it a 4-point contest at the end of the third quarter before Green Bay would get TD passes from Rodgers to Davante Adams and Marcedes Lewis to seal New York’s fate.

New York did manage to outrush the Packers 95-79 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 83 yards, while Rodgers threw for 243 yards with four TDs and no sacks or interceptions (Jones threw for 240 yards with the lone TD toss but was picked off three times). The Giants were 5 of 14 on third down tries in the snowy Meadowlands (they were 3 of 4 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:17, while the Packers, who held the pigskin for 28:43, went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including contests played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Braves, contests played in Milwaukee at County Stadium and RFK Stadium, the Packers lead the series 18-15-1 and have outscored Washington 663-580. Washington has won the last two meetings in the series, both in Landover, with the last win coming in 2018 by a final of 31-17 (Green Bay’s last win in the series came in 2013 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst, with the Packers leaving Lambeau Field 38-20 winners).

They met in week three in Landover and Washington led 28-10 at the break as Peterson rushed for a pair of TDs (both 2-yard runs) in the first half, while Alex Smith threw a pair of TD passes (his longest going to Paul Richardson in the first quarter) in the first 30 minutes of play. Washington outrushed Green Bay 166-100 with Peterson leading all rushers with 120 yards to go with the two TDs; Smith threw for 220 yards with an interception to go with his two TDs, while Rodgers threw for 265 yards with a pair of TDs and four sacks but no picks. Green Bay was 6 of 14 on third down (they were 0 for 2 on fourth down) and the Packers would keep the ball for 30:55, while Washington, who kept the ball for 29:05, went 5 of 11 on third down.

In the week three contest in Landover, Green Bay was favored by 3 and the Redskins would cover, winning by 14 and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under, tallying 48 points. Green Bay’s favored by 13 1/2 at Lambeau and the over/under’s 43. The 43 is reasonable, it’s the 13 1/2 that comes into question. Washington’s not that bad a team and while Green Bay takes this one, expect the Redskins to make it closer than the 13 1/2.

Denver (4-8) at Houston (8-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The first-place Houston Texans welcome the Denver Broncos to the Lone Star State in a early afternoon Sunday matchup at NRG Stadium. Both teams were home winners in last week’s contests.
Denver fought their way to the end against AFC West foe the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday and it would be K Brian McManus sending Broncos fans home with smiles on their faces as they came away 23-20 last-second winners at Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos led 17-10 at the break in the Mile High City and took that lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of football (the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter) before the Chargers would tie the contest up early in the fourth when Keenan Allen and QB Philip Rivers connected on a 36-yard TD pass.

McManus would give his team the lead back with 4:26 left in regulation, booting a 52-yard field goal through the uprights. That lead would not last long as the Chargers would tie the contest again with 14 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. Denver would get the ball back with 14 seconds left after Los Angeles’ kickoff went into the endzone for a touchback. Broncos QB Drew Lock’s pass to Courtland Sutton was incomplete but Chargers CB Casey Heyward Jr. was flagged for interference at his team’s 35-yard line. The Chargers, hoping for overtime, then burned a timeout with three seconds left in an effort to ice McManus, who was going to try a 53-yard field goal for the win. McManus’ try went through the uprights as the clock stuck :00, giving Denver the win.

Houston led Tom Brady and the New England Patriots from start to finish, holding off a late rally by the defending Super Bowl champs to take a 28-22 win Sunday night at NRG Stadium. Houston led 14-3 at the intermission and New England found themselves playing catchup the entire contest. The Patriots did pull themselves to within six with 50 seconds left when Brady and WR Josh Edelman connected on a 20-yard TD toss. New England then went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered and the home team would run out the clock and take the win.

New England outrushed Houston 145-52 and Brady threw for 326 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 234 yards with a TD reception (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked three times). New England did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 9 for 17 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:35, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 25:25, going 6 for 11 on third down.

The Chargers outrushed Denver 115-84 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 99 yards, while Patrick Lindsay led Denver with 58) and Lock threw for 134 yards, while Rivers threw for 265 (Rivers was sacked three times, both men threw a pair of TDs and both threw an interception). The Chargers on third down went 5 of 15 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:51 (including the final 14 seconds of regulation) and went 7 of 15 on third down.

Denver leads the series 4-3 and the Broncos have outscored Houston 174-139. Houston won the last meeting, which took place in Denver in 2018, by a final of 19-17, while the Broncos took a 27-9 win in Denver in 2016 for their last victory in the series. Houston’s favored by 9 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 1/2. The Chargers are looking to derail Houston’s playoff drive, while the Texans want no part of that plan. Houston may not cover the 9 1/2 but they do take the win at home.

Detroit (3-8-1) at Minnesota (8-4), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North rivals meet in the Twin Cities as the Lions and Vikings meet in a week seven rematch at US Bank Stadium. Both teams, chasing Green Bay for the division lead, lost last week’s contests.

Detroit would watch Chicago leave the Motor City 24-20 winners Thanksgiving afternoon, thanks to a 3-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky to RB David Montgomery, rallying in the final minutes at Ford Field to take the win. Detroit led 17-10 at the intermission in the Motor City before Chicago tied the contest up at 17-17 when Trubisky and TE Jesper Horsted connected on an 18-yard TD toss late in the third quarter. Detroit’s Matt Prater would give the Lions the lead back with 10:47 in the contest, connecting on a 24-yard field goal to lead by three. The two clubs would exchange punts and Da Bears would get the ball back with 6:40 left in regulation, using a 9-play, 90-yard drive that took 4:23 of clock to reclaim the lead in the contest.

Detroit would get the ball back with 2:12 left in the contest and got themselves from their 17-yard line to Chicago’s 26, burning a timeout and the two-minute warning, only to see their hopes dashed when back QB David Blough (who took over for Matthew Stafford) was picked off by Eddie Jackson to seal Detroit’s fate. Detroit somehow managed to outrush Da Bears 105-88, with Lions RB Bobby Scarborough leading the way with 83 yards, while Montgomery led Chicago with 75. Trubisky threw for 338 yards and three TDs (including the game-winner), while Blough led Detroit with 280 yards and a pair of TDs, including his first NFL TD pass to Kenny Golladay early in the first quarter (Trubisky was sacked twice, Blough was sacked once and both men threw an interception; Golladay led all recievers with 158 yards on four catches, while Chicago’s Anthony Miller had 140 yards on nine catches). Chicago was 5 of 10 on third down tries Thanksgiving afternoon in the Motor City and kept the ball for 30:50, while Detroit held on to the pigskin for 29:10, going 8 of 16 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Minnesota let a 17-10 lead at Seattle get away from them in the Pacific Northwest Monday night as the Seahawks rallied to take a 37-30 win at Century Link Field. Safety Anthony Harris would give the Vikings a 14-7 lead when he picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, running the interception back 20 yards for a TD. Jason Myers would put Seattle to within four with a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left before Vikings K Dan Bailey responded with a 47-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Seattle would then take control of things in the second half, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged, using a 1-yard run by RB Rashaad Penny, a 29-yard field goal by Myers and a 60-yard pass from Wilson to David Moore in that quarter to lead 27-17. Penny would open the scoring in the final 15 minutes of play, catching a 13-yard toss from Wilson to lead by 17 before Minnesota responded with a pair of Cousins TD tosses (the first going to WR Laquon Treadwell and the second to TE Kyle Rudolph) to put themselves to within 4 with 7:14 left in the contest before Myers added his third field goal of the contest to all but ice the contest away.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 218-78, with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (the Seahawks held Delvin Cook to 29 yards on 9 carries with a TD) and Cousins threw for 276 yards, while Wilson tallied 240 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, both threw interceptions and Wilson was sacked once). Minnesota was 5 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 20:15, while Seattle ruled time in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, keeping the pigskin for 39:45, while going 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met in the Motor City in week seven and the Vikings took Detroit to task at Ford Field, taking a 42-30 win. Minnesota and Detroit were tied 21-21 at the intermission before the Vikings would pull away in the second half, taking the lead for keeps with 9:02 left in the third when Chris Ham caught a 5-yard TD toss from Cousins. Detroit’s Marvin Jones would later catch a 2-yard pass from Matthew Stafford to pull themselves to within five before Delvin Cook’s 4-yard run (his second of the contest) with 1:55 left in the contest sealed Detroit’s fate.

Minnesota outrushed their NFC North rivals 166-81 with Cook leading the way with 142 yards; Cousins threw for 337 yards without a sack or interception, while Stafford threw for 364 yards with an interception and two sacks (both threw four TD passes in the contest). Minnesota was 6 of 10 on third down at Ford Field and kept the ball for 32:10, while the Lions held the ball for 27:50 and went 6 for 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Minnesota covered the 1-point spread in the week seven contest at Ford Field and both clubs covered the 45 1/2 over/under with 72 points. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Vikings again, this time favoring them by 14 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. We’re not sure about the 14; on the other hand, the 42 1/2 makes sense. Detroit’s not as bad as their record states but then again, we’re dealing with the Lions here. Detroit makes it closer than the 14 but the Vikings complete the sweep in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and takes the win in the Twin Cities.

San Francisco (10-2) at New Orleans (10-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of contending NFC teams that could very well meet in the post-season meet in the Big Easy as New Orleans and San Francsico square off at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

The 49ers got their hearts broken in Baltimore as Ravens K Jeff Tucker sent Baltimore fans home happy last Sunday in Charm City as Baltimore left M&T Bank Stadium 20-17 winners over San Francisco in a contest that some considered a possible Super Bowl matchup. The Ravens led the 49ers 17-14 at the break before the 49ers tied the contest with 3:37 left in the third on a 32-yard field goal. San Francisco and Baltimore exchanged the ball four times from the time the 49ers tied the contest until the 6:28 of the fourth quarter, when the Ravens went on a long drive that used 12 plays, 34 yards of field and all of the 6:28 left in the contest to give Tucker a chance to end the contest in regulation. Tucker did not disappoint Ravens fans that stayed in the rain and wind, booting a 49-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

It was a ground game fan’s dream as Baltimore outrushed the 49ers 178-174 with Ravens QB Lamar Jackson leading the way with 101 yards and a rushing TD (Jackson also threw for 105 yards and a TD toss to TE Mark Andrews; San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 165 yards and a TD. Garoppolo was sacked twice, Jackson was sacked once and neither threw an interception), while San Francisco was led by Robert Mostert with 146 yards on the ground. Baltimore was 3 of 10 on third down tries (the Ravens were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and including the final 6:28 of the contest, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:26, while the 49ers held on to the pigskin for 27:34, while going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New Orleans held off a late Atlanta rally as the Falcons dropped their second NFC South game and their second home game, coming away 26-18 winners in the Big Peach Thanksgiving night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New Orleans, who clinched the NFC South, would lead 17-9 at the intermission, then got three field goals from Will Lutz before Atlanta stormed back in the final period, using a 13-yard TD toss from Ryan to WR Russell Gage, then a successful onside kick and a 43-yard field goal by Youngho Koo with 1:56 left in the contest.

Atlanta would get the jump on New Orleans again with another successful onside kick after Koo’s field goal, getting the ball on their 47-yard line. The Falcons’ final rally fell short as Ryan would be sacked by Cameron Jordan to seal the win. New Orleans outrushed Atlanta 95-89 and Ryan threw for 312 yards with a pair of TDs, while Drew Brees threw for 184 yards (Ryan was sacked nine times and threw a pair of interceptions). Atlanta was 6 of 16 on third down tries in the Big Peach (they were 2 of 4 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:37, while the Saints kept the pigskin for 24:23, going 2 of 10 on third down tried.

Including contests played at Keezar Stadium, old Tulane Stadium and Candlestick Park, San Francisco leads the series 47-26-2 and have outscored the Saints 1,814-1,395. The Saints came away 41-23 winners in San Francsico in 2016, while the 49ers’ last win came in the Big Easy by a final of 27-24 in 2014. New Orleans’ favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense. The Saints have already punched their playoff ticket, while the 49ers are looking to get their ducks back in a row in hopes of either winning the NFC West or being a Wild Card team. San Francisco rights its ship from last week in the Big Easy and covers the 3 1/2 with the win.

Miami (3-9) at New York Jets (4-8), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of struggling AFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey in a week nine rematch as the New York J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! host the Miami Dolphins at Met Life Stadium.

The Dolphins used trickery in their 37-31 win over Philadelphia Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-13 lead with 4:40 left before the intermission when K Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack connected on a 1-yard TD pass as the Dolphins lined up for what some thought would be a field goal try. Philadelphia then took the lead back with 6 seconds left before half time on a 15-yard TD toss from Carson Wentz to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and added to their lead in the third quarter when Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery connected on a 10-yard toss.

Miami then used a pair of TD passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick (connecting with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki), a two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to RB Patrick Patrick and a Sanders field goal in the second half, tallying 23 points unchallenged to lead 37-28 before Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 37-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the contest. Miami would get the ball back but could not make a first down that would have ended the contest and the Dolphins punted the ball back to Philadelphia, who had the pigskin for only two plays, when Wentz was picked off by S Chris Lammons, ending the threat.

Philadelphia outrushed Miami 92-52 and Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards, while Wentz threw for 310 yards (both threw an interception with three TDs; Wentz was sacked twice, Fitzpatrick was sacked three times) in the Sunshine State. Miami went 5 of 12 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and kept the ball for 31:18, while Philadelphia held on to the ball for 28:42, while going 7 for 14 on third down.

GangGreen found themselves being held by Cincinnati to a pair of first half field goals at Paul Brown Stadium as the Bengals broke their 13-game losing streak (they lost the last two games of the 2018 campaign) to take a 22-6 win along the shores of the Ohio River. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! trailed 17-6 at the intermission, then watched the Bengals score five third quarter points (safety, Randy Bulloch field goal) unchallenged to seal their fate.

GangGreen did outrush Cincinnati 62-44 and Sam Darnold threw for 239 yards, while Bengals signal caller Andy Dalton returned to action and threw for 243 yards with a TD to TE Travis Boyd (Dalton was sacked once, Darnold was sacked four times and neither man threw an interception). The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 7 of 17 on third down tries, 0 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 28:19, while Cincinnati ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:41 and went 5 of 14 on third down.

Miami picked up their first win in their week nine meeting in the Sunshine State at Hard Rock Stadium 26-18. The Dolphins led 21-12 at the break, then things went sideways for GangGreen as they would give up a Jason Sanders field goal with 60 seconds left in the third quarter, then Jets RB Jonathan Harrison fumbled the ball out of the end zone, giving Miami two more points in the fourth quarter.

Neither club touched the 100-yard barrier in the contest but while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! outrushed Miami 83-50, Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 288 yards with four TDs with no interceptions, despite being sacked four times (Darnold threw for 260 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception for GangGreen). Miami was 6 of 12 on third down and ruled the clock as they held the ball for 31:14, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! held the pigskin for 28:46, going 5 of 14 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week nine contest at Hard Rock Stadium, GangGreen was favored by 3 and the Dolphins would cover, winning by 8 and both clubs covered the 40 1/2 over/under with 44 points. This time, the Jets are favored in the Meadowlands by 6 with a 44 over/under. We don’t blame you if you decide not to watch this one and watch the “Grumpy Cat Christmas” movie (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams). Miami proves that the first time was not a fluke and wins in the Meadowlands, covering the 6.

Indianapolis (6-6) at Tampa Bay (5-7), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Jacoby Brissett and Indianapolis make their way to the Sunshine State to face off against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Colts’ playoff hopes took a hit Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil as Tennessee swept a 10-7 halftime deficit at Indianapolis away, outscoring the Colts 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 31-17 win over their AFC South rivals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts RB Nyheim Hines would give Indianpolis a 17-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third before Tennessee would go on a tear, scoring their 24 second-half points unthreatened and got help from their special teams as S Tye Smith blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Adam Vinatieri, picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched. Tennesee outrushed Indianapolis 154-82, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 149 yards and a TD, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (Brissett threw for 319 yards with a TD but was sacked three times; Tannehill was sacked six times but had no interceptions to his credit). Tennessee was 5 of 13 on third down (the Titans were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 27:29, while the Colts held on to the pigskin for 32:31, going 5 for 12 on third down.

Tampa Bay restored order in the Sunshine State last week in Jacksonville, as the Bucs manhandled the Jaguars 28-11 at TIAA Stadium. The Bucs led 25-0 at the intermission on the road, scoring all of their points in the first 30 minutes of play unchallenged to set the tone before Jacksonville would use a Josh Lambo field goal and a TD pass from Gardner Minshew II (who took over after Nick Foles was benched) to Dede Westbrook (the two combined for the two-point conversion).

Neither team breached the 100-yard barrier in the Sunshine State contest but Tampa Bay did manage to outrush Jacksonville 74-49 and Winston threw for 268 yards and while he did not throw a TD and was sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Minshew threw for 147 yards with a pair of sacks and was picked off once (Foles threw for 93 yards with three sacks and an interception before he was taken out of the contest). Tampa Bay was 7 of 17 on third down tries (the Buccaneers went 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball hostage for 33:32, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:28, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Including games that took place in Baltimore, the Colts lead the series 8-5 and have outscored Tampa Bay 336-277. Their last meeting took place in the Hoosier State in 2015 and the Colts came away 25-12 winners, while Tampa Bay’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2011 by a final of 24-17. Tampa Bay’s favored by 3 on Florida’s West Coast and the over/under’s 49. Tampa Bay would love nothing more than to dent or damage to Indianapolis’ playoff hopes, while the Colts are looking to bounce back from their loss at home. Colts pull off the upset on the road and cover the 3 in the Sunshine State.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-8) at Jacksonville (4-8), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet on the East Coast as Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers take on Gordon Minshew II and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Chargers fans had their hearts broken last Sunday in Denver as the Broncos fought their way to the end against their AFC West foe and it would be K Brian McManus sending Broncos fans home with smiles on their faces as they came away 23-20 last-second winners at Empower Field at Mile High. The Broncos led 17-10 at the break in the Mile High City and took that lead with them to start the final 15 minutes of football (the two clubs played a scoreless third quarter) before the Chargers would tie the contest up early in the fourth when Keenan Allen and QB Philip Rivers connected on a 36-yard TD pass.

McManus would give his team the lead back with 4:26 left in regulation, booting a 52-yard field goal through the uprights. That lead would not last long as the Chargers would tie the contest again with 14 seconds left on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. Denver would get the ball back with 14 seconds left after Los Angeles’ kickoff went into the endzone for a touchback. Broncos QB Drew Lock’s pass to Courtland Sutton was incomplete but Chargers CB Casey Heyward Jr. was flagged for interference at his team’s 35-yard line. The Chargers, hoping for overtime, then burned a timeout with three seconds left in an effort to ice McManus, who was going to try a 53-yard field goal for the win. McManus’ try went through the uprights as the clock stuck :00, giving Denver the win.

The Chargers outrushed Denver 115-84 (Los Angeles’ Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 99 yards, while Patrick Lindsay led Denver with 58) and Lock threw for 134 yards, while Rivers threw for 265 (Rivers was sacked three times, both men threw a pair of TDs and both threw an interception). The Chargers on third down went 5 of 15 (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:09, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:51 (including the final 14 seconds of regulation) and went 7 of 15 on third down.

Jacksonville could never get themselves on track against in-state rival Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers took the Jaguars to task 28-11 at TIAA Stadium. Jacksonville trailed from start to finish and found themselve behind 25-0 at the intermission as the Buccaneers would score those points in the first 30 minutes of play unchallenged to set the tone before Jacksonville would use a Josh Lambo field goal and a TD pass from Gardner Minshew II (who took over after Nick Foles was benched) to Dede Westbrook (the two combined for the two-point conversion).

Neither team breached the 100-yard barrier in the Sunshine State contest but Tampa Bay did manage to outrush Jacksonville 74-49 and Winston threw for 268 yards and while he did not throw a TD and was sacked four times, did not throw an interception, while Minshew threw for 147 yards with a pair of sacks and was picked off once (Foles threw for 93 yards with three sacks and an interception before he was taken out of the contest). Tampa Bay was 7 of 17 on third down tries (the Buccaneers went 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball hostage for 33:32, while the Jaguars kept the pigskin for 26:28, going 4 of 14 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

The Chargers hold a 7-3 lead in the series and have outscored the Jaguars 291-178. Jacksonville won the last meeting, which took place in the Sunshine State in 2017, needing overtime to take a 20-17 win, while the Chargers won on the West Coast the season before, coming away 38-14 winners in San Diego. The Chargers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under 42 1/2. The winner keeps their playoff hopes alive, while the loser is all but done for the 2019 season. Chargers take the win in the Sunshine State and covers the 2 1/2.

Pittsburgh (7-5) at Arizona (3-8-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. A pair of rookie QBs meet in the desert as Pittsburgh and Delvin Hodges makes their west westward to face off against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.
Pittsburgh erased an early 10-0 deficit against Cleveland last Sunday, getting a measure of revenge from their loss along the shores of Lake Erie two weeks ago to take a 20-17 win at Heinz Field. Cleveland used a 31-yard field goal by Austin Siebert and a 15-yard TD toss from Mayfield to Kareem Hunt to score the first points of the contest unchallenged before the Steelers got themselves back on track, tying the contest with Chris Boswell’s 39-yard field goal and a 30-yard TD pass from Hodges to WR James Washigton with a minute left in the first half to send the teams into the intermission tied at 10-10.

Pittsburgh would then add a 1-yard run by Benny Snell, Jr. and a 29-yard field goal by Boswell to lead 20-10 early in the final period. Siebert then pulled the Browns to within seven with 7:30 left in regulation on a 34-yard field goal. The Browns and Steelers would each get the ball, only to punt to the other team after Siebert’s field goal and Cleveland would get the ball back with 1:45 left. After Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree was flagged for roughing the passer, the Browns got the ball at their 35 and would get as close as their own 40, when the drive and Cleveland’s hopes ended when Mayfield was picked off by Joe Haden, ending the threat.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cleveland 124-106 with Snell leading the way with 63 yards (Cleveland was led by Nick Chubb, who ran for 58 yards on 16 carries). Hodges threw for 212 yards in the win, while Mayfield threw for 196 (both threw an interception as well as a TD; Mayfield was sacked five times, while Hodges was sacked once. Cleveland was 4 of 12 on third down (the Browns were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:06 to Pittsburgh’s 27:54; the Steelers were 4 for 10 on third down conversions.

Arizona was held to a fourth-quarter TD by Murray as the Los Angeles Rams came into Glendale last Sunday and left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. Arizona had trouble getting themselves on track as the Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half. Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run. Arizona would be held by the Rams to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Including games that were played when the Cardinals were in Chicago and St. Louis, the Steelers were known as the Pirates and games were played at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh leads the series 33-23-3, have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,163-1,092 and have won the last two meetings, including a 25-13 win in 2015 at Heinz Field, while Arizona’s last win came in the desert in 2007, coming out on top 25-13. Pittsburgh’s a 1 1/2-point favorite in the desert and the over/under’s 43. The Steelers are looking to make it to the post-season party, while the Desert Angry Birds would love nothing more than to be the spoilers. Pittsburgh covers the 1 1/2 in the desert and wins this one in Glendale over the Desert Angry Birds.

Kansas City (8-4) at New England (10-2), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. They meet again for the third time in two seasons. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs head to Foxboro for an AFC Championship rematch with the NeW England Patriots.

Kansas City all but manhandled AFC West rival Oakland last Sunday at Arrowhead, coming away 40-9 winners. The Chiefs scored their first 31 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and took control of things from that point, holding the Silver and Black to a 4-yard TD toss from Derek Carr to TE Derek Carrier with 39 seconds left in the contest. Kansas City then proceeded to add insult to injury as CB Charvarius Ward picked off the two-point try and returned it for a defensive conversion.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 122-96 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards with a rushing TD and a TD pass to RB Darrel Williams, with a sack but no interceptions (Carr threw for 222 yards with the TD but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City was 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Raiders clung to the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

New England came out on the short end of a 28-22 loss to DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans Sunday night at NRG Stadium. The defending Super Bowl champions trailed 14-3 at the intermission and found themselves playing catchup the entire contest. New England did pull themselves to within six with 50 seconds left when Brady and WR Josh Edelman connected on a 20-yard TD toss. New England then went for the onside kick, which the Texans recovered and the home team would run out the clock and take the win.

New England outrushed Houston 145-52 and Brady threw for 326 yards with an interception, while Watson threw for 234 yards with a TD reception (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked three times). New England did reasonably well on third down conversions, going 9 for 17 (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:35, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 25:25, going 6 for 11 on third down.

The Chiefs lead the series 18-14-3 (which includes contests that took place in Houston when the Chiefs were known as the Texans and the Patriots played their home games at Fenway Park) and have outscored New England 878-737. The two clubs met twice last year, once in the regular season (Foxboro) and once in post-season play (Kansas City) and New England won both contests (Kansas City’s last win in the series? Foxboro in 2017 by a final of 42-27.

The first meeting? Foxboro in week six on a Sunday night. Brady and New England survived a slugfest with Mahomes and the Chiefs, coming away 43-40 winners at Gillette Stadium. New England led the Chiefs 24-9 after 30 minutes of play before the Chiefs stormed back in the second half, outscoring the Pats 31-19. The Chiefs would eventually take a 33-30 lead with 8:38 left in regulation when Tyreek Hill and Mahomes connected on a 1-yard TD toss. Brady would then take matters into his own feet, scoring on a 4-yard run with 5:25 left in the contest. Pats K Stephen Gostkowski would later connect on a 50-yard field goal to make it a seven-point contest before Mahomes and Hill hooked up again to tie the contest with 3:03 left in regulation. New England would get the ball back with the 3:03 left and used a 7-play, 65-yard drive to send their fans home from Gillette happy as Gostkowski connected on a 28 yard field goal as time expired.

New England outrushed Kansas City 173-94 and Pats RB Sony Michel led all rushers with 106 yards and a pair of TDs, while Kareem Hunt led Kansas City with 80 yards. Brady threw for 340 yards and a TD to WR Josh Edleman to go with his rushing TD, while Mahomes threw for 352 yards (Brady was sacked twice, Mahomes threw a pair of interceptions) with four TDs, three of them going to Hill. New England was 7 of 13 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:09 (including the final 3:03 of the contest), while the Chiefs, keeping the ball for 23:51, went 4 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

That was round one.

Round two?

The AFC championship at Arrowhead and like the regular season meeting in Foxboro, this contest was a slugfest but the Patriots earned their trip to Atlanta, needing overtime to win 37-31. New England led 14-0 at halftime before the Chiefs would push their way back into the contest and took a 28-24 lead with 2:03 left in the contest. Rex Burkhead would give New England the lead back with 39 seconds left, scoring on a 4-yard run. That lead would not last very long at Arrowhead Stadium, as Chiefs K Harrison Butker connected on a 39-yard field goal with eight seconds left to tie things back up.

New England would win the toss in overtime and the Chiefs would never see the pigskin again, as the Patriots would go on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that used 4:52 of clock and ended as Burkhead would score his second TD of the contest to give the Pats the overtime win. New England held Kansas City to 41 yards rushing, while they accounted for 176 yards and Michel would lead all rushers with 113 yards and a pair of rushing TDs. Brady threw for 348 yards with a TD but threw a pair of interceptions, while Mahomes threw for 295 yards with three TDs (two of them to Darnell Williams) with four sacks but no interceptions. New England in the AFC Championship game went 13 of 19 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 43:59 (including the 4:52 in overtime), while the Chiefs held the ball for 20:53 and went 4 of 9 on third down.

In the week six contest in Foxboro, the Pats were favored by 3 1/2 but won by only 3. The two clubs did manage to cover the 60 over/under, tallying 83 points. In the AFC championship contest at Arrowhead, Kansas City was favored by 3 and the Patriots covered, winning by 6 and as was the case, both teams covered the over/under (this time, it was 56) with 68 points.

This one’s “DRILL WORTHY,” given the history between the two clubs (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Tennessee (7-5) at Oakland (6-6), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 717. Tennesee, chasing Houston for the top spot in the AFC South, makes their way to the West Coast to face the struggling Oakland Raiders at the Coliseum.

The Titans swept a 10-7 halftime deficit at Indianapolis away as Tennessee would outscore the Colts 24-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to take a 31-17 win over their AFC South rivals at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts RB Nyheim Hines would give Indianpolis a 17-7 lead with 10:23 left in the third before Tennessee would go on a tear, scoring their 24 second-half points unthreatened and got help from their special teams as S Tye Smith blocked a 46-yard field goal try by Adam Vinatieri, picked up the ball and ran 63 yards untouched. Tennesee outrushed Indianapolis 154-82, with Titans RB Derrick Henry leading the way with 149 yards and a TD, while Ryan Tannehill threw for 182 yards and a pair of TDs (Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 319 yards with a TD but was sacked three times; Tannehill was sacked six times but had no interceptions to his credit). Tennessee was 5 of 13 on third down (the Titans were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 27:29, while the Colts held on to the pigskin for 32:31, going 5 for 12 on third down.

Oakland found themselves overmatched by Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs as their AFC West rivals all but manhandled the Silver and Black last Sunday at Arrowhead, coming away 40-9 winners. Raiders fans watched with horror as the Chiefs scored their first 31 points of the contest unchallenged, leading 21-0 at the half and took control of things from that point, holding the Silver and Black to a 4-yard TD toss from Derek Carr to TE Derek Carrier with 39 seconds left in the contest but Kansas City then proceeded to add insult to injury as CB Charvarius Ward picked off the two-point try and returned it for a defensive conversion.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 122-96 with Raiders RB Josh Jacobs leading the way with 104 yards, while Mahomes threw for 175 yards with a rushing TD and a TD pass to RB Darrel Williams, with a sack but no interceptions (Carr threw for 222 yards with the TD but was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions). Kansas City was 7 of 11 on third down (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 28:19, while the Raiders clung to the pigskin for 31:41, going 3 of 9 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played in Houston when the Texans were known as the Oilers and the Raiders played their home contests in Los Angeles, Oakland leads the series 26-20 but the Titans have outscored the Silver and Black 1,066-1,036. Oakland has won the last three contests (all in Nashville) with the last win coming in the Music City by a final of 26-17 in 2017, while the Titans’ last win came on the West Coast in 2013 by a final of 23-19. Tennessee’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both teams are looking for a playoff spot and hope to catch the teams in their respective divisions (Tennessee chasing Houston in the AFC South, Oakland chasing Kansas City in the AFC West). Raiders cover the 3 and just win baby in Oakland.

Seattle (10-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of contending NFC West rivals meet in Los Angeles as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks make the 1,138-mile trip down I-5 to face off against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams under the lights. Both teams took huge wins last week.

Seattle erased a 17-10 against Minnesota in the Pacific Northwest Monday night, rallying to take a 37-30 win at Century Link Field. Safety Anthony Harris would give the Vikings a 14-7 lead when he picked off Seattle QB Russell Wilson, running the interception back 20 yards for a TD. Jason Myers would put Seattle to within four with a 29-yard field goal with 59 seconds left before Vikings K Dan Bailey responded with a 47-yard boot as time expired in the first half. Seattle would then take control of things in the second half in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, scoring 17 points in the third quarter unchallenged, using a 1-yard run by RB Rashaad Penny, a 29-yard field goal by Myers and a 60-yard pass from Wilson to David Moore in that quarter to lead 27-17. Penny would open the scoring in the final 15 minutes of play, catching a 13-yard toss from Wilson to lead by 17 before Minnesota responded with a pair of Cousins TD tosses (the first going to WR Laquon Treadwell and the second to TE Kyle Rudolph) to put themselves to within 4 with 7:14 left in the contest before Myers added his third field goal of the contest to all but ice the contest away.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 218-78, with Seahawks RB Chris Carson leading all rushers with 102 yards and a TD (the Seahawks held Delvin Cook to 29 yards on 9 carries with a TD) and Cousins threw for 276 yards, while Wilson tallied 240 yards (both threw a pair of TDs, both threw interceptions and Wilson was sacked once). Minnesota was 5 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 20:15, while Seattle ruled time in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks, keeping the pigskin for 39:45, while going 7 of 15 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The defending NFC champs held Arizona to a fourth-quarter TD by Kyler Murray as they left 34-7 winners over the Desert Angry Birds. The Rams scored their 34 points in the contest unchallenged, leading 20-0 at the half, while Arizona’s lone score of the contest came with 8:35 left in the game on Murray’s 15-yard run. The Rams held Arizona to 74 yards rushing, while the defending NFC champs tallied 132 yards on the ground, with Rams RB Todd Gurley leading everyone with 95 yards and a TD. Rams QB Jarred Goff threw for 424 yards with a pair of TDs (one to Cooper Kupp, the other to Tyler Higbee; Higbee had seven catches for 107, while teammate Robert Woods led all recievers with 172 yards), while Murray threw for 163 yards with six sacks and an interception (Goff was sacked twice but did not throw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down but 0 for 1 on fourth down and they would rule the clock and keep the ball for 34:37, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the pigskin for 25:23, going 2 of 13 on third down, 2 of 4 on fourth down.

The two NFC West rivals met in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks in week five and Seattle came away 30-29 winners at Century Link Field. Seattle led 14-13 at the break in the Thursday night contest before Los Angeles would storm their way back to lead 29-24 with 9:19 left as Rams K Greg Zeurlein would kick his third field goal of the evening. Seattle would reclaim the lead and take the win with 2:28 left when RB Chirs Carson and Wilson connnected on a 5-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would hold the Rams off in the closing minutes of the contest and take the win in front of the home folks.

The Rams were outrushed by Seattle 167-82 with Carson leading all rushers with 118 yards, while Todd Gurley II led the Rams with 52 yards and a pair of TDs. Wilson threw for 268 yards with four TDs (including the game-winner) and was sacked once, while Goff threw for 395 yards with a TD to Cooper Kupp and was picked off once. Seattle went 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 35:18, while the Rams, who held on to the pigskin for 24:42, went 3 for 11 on third down.

In the week five contest in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle was favored by 1 point and the Seahawks covered, winning by that margin and both teams took care of covering the 49 1/2 over/under by tallying 59 points. Seattle’s favored by 2 in Tinseltown and the over/under’s 47. Seattle’s sitting on top of the NFC West mountain, while the Rams look to restore some order. Seattle wins in Los Angeles and covers the 2.

New York Giants (2-10) at Philadelphia (5-7), 8:20 p,m. Monday on ESPN. Week 14 closes out in the City of Brotherly Love with an NFC East matchup as the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, separated by 96 miles and a 90-minute drive down I-95 square off. Both teams took losses in last week’s action.

Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers went into Met Life Stadium last Sunday and left the Meadowlands 31-13 winners. The Packers erased a 7-7 after Russell Shepherd and Doug Jones connected on an 18 yard TD toss with 3:16 left in the first when Rodgers and rookie WR Allan Lazard connected on a 37-yard TD pass to lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Big Blue trailed 17-10 at the half and would rally to make it a 4-point contest at the end of the third quarter before Green Bay would get TD passes from Rodgers to Davante Adams and Marcedes Lewis to seal New York’s fate.

New York did manage to outrush the Packers 95-79 with Giants RB Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 83 yards, while Rodgers threw for 243 yards with four TDs and no sacks or interceptions (Jones threw for 240 yards with the lone TD toss but was picked off three times). The Giants were 5 of 14 on third down tries in the snowy Meadowlands (they were 3 of 4 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:17, while the Packers, who held the pigskin for 28:43, went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Miami used trickery in their 37-31 win over Philadelphia Sunday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami took a 14-13 lead with 4:40 left before the intermission (the Eagles led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter) when K Jason Sanders and punter Matt Haack connected on a 1-yard TD pass as the Dolphins lined up for what some thought would be a field goal try. Philadelphia then took the lead back with 6 seconds left before half time on a 15-yard TD toss from Carson Wentz to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and added to their lead in the third quarter when Wentz and WR Alshon Jeffery connected on a 10-yard toss.

Miami then used a pair of TD passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick (connecting with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki), a two-point conversion pass from Fitzpatrick to RB Patrick Patrick and a Sanders field goal in the second half, tallying 23 points unchallenged to lead 37-28 before Eagles K Josh Elliott connected on a 37-yard field goal with 1:51 left in the contest. Miami would get the ball back but could not make a first down that would have ended the contest and the Dolphins punted the ball back to Philadelphia, who had the pigskin for only two plays, when Wentz was picked off by S Chris Lammons, ending the threat.

Philadelphia outrushed Miami 92-52 and Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards, while Wentz threw for 310 yards (both threw an interception with three TDs; Wentz was sacked twice, Fitzpatrick was sacked three times) in the Sunshine State. Miami went 5 of 12 on third down but had success on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and kept the ball for 31:18, while Philadelphia held on to the ball for 28:42, while going 7 for 14 on third down.

The series? Tied at 83-83-2 and the Giants have outscored Philadelphia 3,241-3,209. History has been kind to the Eagles, however, as they have won the last five meetings, sweeping the last two series (including last year’s contests; The Giants’ last win in the series came in 2016 in the Meadowlands by a final of 28-23 at Met Life Stadium).

The first meeting took place in week six in upstate New Jersey at Met Life Stadium and the Eagles held Big Blue to seven points in the second half to take the 34-13 win. Philadelphia led from start to finish, taking a 24-6 lead with them to the intermission, then took control of the second half to take the road win.

New York did outrush Philadelphia 147-108 (Giants RB Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 130 yards and a rushing TD, Barkley also had nine catches for 99 yards) and Eli Manning threw for 281 yards with an interception and four sacks, while Wentz threw for 278 yards and three TDs passes (two to Alshon Jeffery, the other to Ertz). The Giants went 4 of 14 on third down (Big Blue was 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 27:30, while the Eagles ruled the clock, keeping the pigskin to themselves for 32:30 and went 9 of 16 on third down conversions.

The Eagles made it a clean sweep, taking down Big Blue 25-22 in their week 12 rematach at Lincoln Financial Field. The Giants took a 19-11 lead with them to the intermission in the City of Brotherly Love, only to see that lead get away from them in the final 30 minutes of play. Philadelphia would take a 22-19 lead with 10:11 left in the contest on a 1-yard run by RB Josh Adams (Adams, who led Philadelphia with 84 rushing yards, also scored on the two-point conversion) before the Giants tied the contest with 5:49 left on an 29-yard field goal by Aldrick Rosas. Philadelphia would get the ball back on the kickoff and used a 10-play, 50-yard drive, using 5:27 of clock and ending with a 43-yard game-winning field goal by Jake Elliot with 22 seconds left, then stopping a last-second Giants rally to take the win.

This time, Philadelphia outrushed the Giants 127-126 and once again, Barkley led all rushers with 101 yards and a TD. Manning threw for 297 yards with an interception and a pair of sacks, while Wentz threw for 236 yards with three sacks (each threw a TD pass). The Eagles were 3 of 11 on third down in the rematch (they were perfect on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 32:38, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 27:22, going 5 of 12 on third down.

The Giants on Monday night? 25-39-1 (they played two games in 2018 and split them). Philadelphia? 35-27; the Eagles played once on Monday night last year but found success in their only contest.

Philadelphia in the week six contest, played on a Thursday night, was favored by 3 and covered the spread, winning by 21. Both teams did take care of the 44 over/under, tallying 47 points. In the rematch in the City of Brotherly Love in week 12, the Eagles were favored by 6 but won by only three; they did take care of the 46 over/under, passing it by 1 point. Philadelphia’s favored by 8 with a 46 1/2 over/under. The Giants would love nothing more than to ruin Philadelphia’s playoff hopes, while the Eagles are looking to climb their way back into the post-season. Philadelphia may not cover the 8 but they take the Monday night win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Thanksgiving has come and gone.

Black Friday? Made its guest appearance and head out.

It’s getting colder and somewhat windier.

Malls are getting crowded and Santa can now make his appearance.

It’s the Sunday/Monday part of week 13 in the National Football League and there have already been three games on the docket. 13 more remain.

For some teams, it’s a chance to hold on to those precious playoff spots. For those that are struggling, it’s their chance to right their ships and hope for either a Wild Card spot or a better spot in the upcoming draft. Time is running out for those that want to make their way into the Lombardi Party and they better get cracking if they want that invite. Only 12 can get in, which mean the other 20 are fighting for a spot.

2019 NFL PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 13

AFC

CLINCHED: None

New England (10-1) at Houston (7-4), Sunday at 8:20 p.m. on NBC

New England clinches playoff berth with:

New England win + Oakland loss or tie OR
New England win + Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
New England tie + Oakland loss + Pittsburgh loss OR
New England tie + Oakland loss + Indianapolis loss OR
New England tie + Pittsburgh loss + Indianapolis loss

NFC

CLINCHED: None

San Francisco (10-1) at Baltimore (9-2), Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX

San Francisco clinches playoff berth with:

San Francisco win + Los Angeles Rams loss or tie OR
San Francisco tie + Los Angeles Rams loss

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 12: New England defeated Dallas 13-9, in Week 12 and improved to 10-1 on the season. The Patriots have won at least 10 games in 17 consecutive seasons dating back to 2003 and surpassed San Francisco S (16 seasons from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history. Wide receiver Matthew Slater blocked a punt for the Patriots in the first quarter. New England has blocked three punts in 2019, tied for the second-most in a team’s first 11 games of a season since 1990. Only the 1990 Kansas City Chiefs (five) had more.

Buffalo running back Frank Gore registered 65 rushing yards in the Bills’ 20-3 win over Denver. Gore, who has 15,289 career rushing yards, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15,269 rushing yards) for the third-most rushing yards in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (18,355) and Walter Payton (16,726) have more. Gore, who has 611 scrimmage yards in 2019, has recorded at least 500 scrimmage yards in 15 consecutive seasons, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens (15 seasons from 1996-2010) for the third-longest such streak in NFL history. Only Larry Fitzgerald (16 seasons from 2004-19) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (16 from 1998-2013) have a longer streak of seasons in league annals.

Tampa Bay wide receiver Chris Godwin recorded seven receptions for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 35-22 win at Atlanta. It marked Godwin’s third game of the season in which he had at least 150 receiving yards. Godwin and Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans have each recorded at least 150 receiving yards in three games this season, becoming the first pair of teammates to each record three such performances in a single season in NFL history.

Godwin, who has 1,071 receiving yards this season, and Evans, who has 1,043 receiving yards in 2019, are the fourth pair of teammates each with at least 1,000 receiving yards in their team’s first 11 games, joining Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas (2014 Denver Broncos), Torry Holt and Isasc Bruce (2000 St. Louis Rams), and Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Maynard and George Sauer (1968 New York Jets). Evans, who registered 50 receiving yards on Sunday, joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998-2003) as the only players with at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first six seasons in NFL history.

New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas recorded 10 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Saints’ 34-31 win over Carolina. Thomas is the fourth player with at least eight receptions and 100 receiving yards in five consecutive games in a single season in NFL history. Thomas has 104 receptions for 1,242 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 and became the fifth player with at least 100 receptions and 1,200 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey recorded 133 scrimmage yards (69 receiving, 64 rushing) and both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday against New Orleans. McCaffrey has eight career games with both a rushing and receiving touchdown, tied with Chuck Foreman (eight games from 1973-75) for the most such games in a player’s first three seasons in NFL history. McCaffrey has 13 career games with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards, surpassing Herschel Walker (12 games from 1986-88) for the most such games in a player’s first three seasons in league annals.

McCaffrey, who has 21 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2017, joined Chuck Foreman (1973-75) as the only players with at least 20 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns through their first three seasons in NFL history.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry registered 159 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the Titans’ 42-20 win against Jacksonville. In the third quarter, Henry recorded rushing touchdowns of 74 and seven yards in a 16-second span and became the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson (two touchdowns in 15 seconds in Week 10, 2006) to score two touchdowns within a 20-second span in a single game.

With his 74-yard touchdown run, Henry joined Napoleon Kaufman (1997-99) and Robert Smith (1997-2000) as the only players in NFL history to record a rushing touchdown of at least 70 yards in three consecutive seasons.

Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz recorded 12 receptions, including the 500th of his career, for 91 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ Week 12 loss against Seattle. Ertz, appearing in his 102nd career game, became the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach 500 career receptions, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr. (101 games).

Ertz has 11 career games with at least 10 receptions, tied with Jason Witten (11 games) for the second-most such games by a tight end in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (15) had more.

Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert registered four passes defensed and two interceptions in the Browns’ 41-24 win against Miami. Schobert, who also had two interceptions in Week 11, is the fourth linebacker to record multiple interceptions in consecutive games in the Super Bowl era, joining Al Beuchamp (Weeks 11-12 in 1971), Cato June (Weeks 5-6 in 2005) and Stan White (Weeks 7-8 in 1977).

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated Sunday’s San Francsico-Baltimore matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest pairs the teams from one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Ravens and head coach John Harbaugh built a 28-6 lead on his younger brother, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, when Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones returned the second-half-opening kickoff 108 yards, the longest play in Super Bowl annals. Soon after Jones’ return, the stadium lost power, causing a 34-minute delay. San Francisco responded with Michael Crabtree’s touchdown catch, and TD runs by Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick to pull within 31-29 with just less than 10 minutes remaining. After a Justin Tucker field goal gave Baltimore a 34-29 advantage, the Ravens’ last-minute goal-line stand preserved their second Super Bowl victory. After using a safety to run out the clock, Baltimore won, 34-31.

HAVE ANOTHER SERVING OF HOPE: As the playoff races come into focus, Cleveland in the AFC and Carolina, Chicagao and Philadelphia in the NFC are 5-6. In 13 of the past 15 seasons (2004-18), a team with a sub-.500 record through 11 games has made the playoff field. And since 1990, when the current 12-team playoff format was instituted, 21 such clubs in 29 seasons have steered their way to the postseason. Four of those clubs – the 1995 San Diego Chargers, the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars, the 2008 San Diego Chargers and the 2014 Carolina Panthers – earned playoff berths after starting with four-or-fewer wins through 11 games. The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship that season and both the Chargers (2008) and Panthers (2014) advanced to their respective Divisional rounds.

Teams with a sub-.500 record through 11 games to qualify for the playoffs since 1990:

TEAM – SEASON (W-L-T, PCT)
Philadelphia – 2018 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2005 (5-6-0,. 455)
Green Bay – 2016 (5-6-0, .455)
St. Louis Rams – 2004 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2015 (5-6-0, .455)
Detroit – 1997 (5-6-0, .455)
Carolina – 2014 (3-7-1, .318)
Jacksonville – 1996 (4-7-0, .364)
San Diego – 2013 (5-6-0, .455)
Detroit – 1995 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2012 (5-6-0, .455)
San Diego – 1995 (4-7-0, .364)
Seattle – 2010 (5-6-0, .455)
Detroit – 1994 (5-6-0, .455)
New York Jets – 2009 (5-6-0, .455)
New England – 1994 (5-6-0, .455)
San Diego – 2008 (4-7-0, 364)
Minnesota – 1993 (5-6-0, .455)
Washington – 2007 (5-6-0, .455)
New Orleans – 1990 (5-6-0, .455)
Philadelphia – 2006 (5-6-0, .455)

AN NFC RARITY: The Minnesota-Seattle contest on Monday Night Football features one of three NFC clubs (Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans) with nine-or-more wins. This season marks the first time in 18 years that three NFC clubs are 9-2 or better through 11 games. Since the conference was formed during the league merger in 1970, it’s happened only four other times (1986, 1990, 1991 and 2001).

Last year, Seattle’s Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history to win at least nine games in each of his first seven seasons. Wilson, now in his eighth NFL season, led the Seahawks to their ninth win last week at Philadelphia.

DECEMBERS TO REMEMBER: San Francsico and Baltimore, who meet on Sunday, are two of the NFL’s best teams in December since 2017, when the 49ers acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from New England. Garoppolo is 5-0 in December since coming to San Francisco.

The NFL teams with highest winning percentages in December since 2017:

TEAM (W-L-T, PCT.)
Los Angeles Chargers (8-2-0, .800)
Dallas (6-2-0, .750)
Baltimore (7-3-0, .700)
Kansas City (7-3-0, .700)
New England (7-3-0, .700)
Philadelphia (7-3-0, .700)
San Francisco (7-3-0, .700)
New Orleans (6-3-0, .667)

PLETHORA OF EIGHT-WIN TEAMS: Green Bay, who heads east to play the New York Giants on Sunday, are one of eight NFL teams with eight-or-more wins in 2019, tying a single-season record through 11 games. This marks the first time in 16 years – and only the fifth time in history – that eight clubs have reached eight wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1997 and 2003.

PLETHORA OF NINE-WIN TEAMS: The Sunday Night Football contest pairs New England (10-1) on the road against Houston (7-4). The Patriots are one of five NFL teams with at least nine wins through 11 games, also tying a single-season league record. This marks just the second time in the past 28 seasons that five teams have nine-or-more wins through 11 games. It also happened in 1968, 1975, 1976, 1986, 1990, 1991 and 2015.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson ranks third in the NFL among quarterbacks with five rushing touchdowns. Only Buffalo’s Josh Allen (seven) and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (six) have more. Overall this season, NFL quarterbacks have rushed for 58 touchdowns. That’s on pace for 84, which would be 11 more than the most in a single season since the 1970 merger, 73, in 2002.

ROOKIES NOT ONLY PLAYING, THEY’RE WINNING: Cleveland makes the two-hour bus ride to play in Pittsburgh on Sunday in a game that features Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, the number 1 overall selection in the 2018 draft, against an undrafted rookie, Delvin Hodges. The 2018 and 2019 seasons are two of only four in NFL history that have had five-or-more quarterbacks win at least one start (Hodges won his first career start earlier this year). The league-record is seven, in 1987. Five rookie quarterbacks also started and won at least one game in 2012.

MAHOMES, JACKSON HAVE HISTORY IN THEIR SIGHTS: Oakland meets Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (age 24) enters the week ranked fifth in the NFL with a 110 passer rating. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson (age 22) enters the week ranked third with a 111.4 mark. Prior to 2019, only twice in 99 NFL seasons has a player under the age of 25 finished a season with a passer rating of 110 or higher: Mahomes in 2018 (113.8) and Nick Foles in 2013 (119.2).

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 13

BATTLE IN BALTIMORE: Baltimore enters Week 13 with the NFL’s top scoring offense (35.1 points per game), while San Francisco has allowed 14.8 points per game, the fewest in the NFC this season.

Sunday’s matchup in Baltimore will mark the third time that a team averaging more than 35 points per game and a team averaging fewer than 15 points allowed per game will meet in Week 13 or later since 1970. In each of the previous two matchups, one of the competing teams advanced to the Super Bowl that season.

The matchups featuring a team averaging at least 35 points per game and a team averaging fewer than 15 points per game in Week 13 or later since 1970:

SEASON/WEEK – TEAM (POINTS/GAME) vs. TEAM (POINTS ALLOWED/GAME)(RESULT)
2012/15 – New England (36.3) vs. San Francisco (14.2)(San Francisco 41, New England 34)#
2007/14 – New England (39.1) vs. Pittsburgh (12.9)(New England 34, Pittsburgh 13)#
2019/13 – Baltimore (35.1)* vs. San Francisco (14.8)*(??)
*Entering Sunday
#New England and San Francisco Advanced to Super Bowl

Baltimore enters December having scored at least 40 points in each of its past three games – 49 points in Week 10, 41 in Week 11 and 45 in Week 12. With at least 40 points against San Francisco on Sunday, the Ravens can become the fourth team to score at least 40 points in four consecutive games in NFL history.

The teams with the most consecutive games scoring at least 40 points in NFL history:

TEAM (SEASON – CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 40+ POINTS)
Indianapolis (2004 – 4)
St. Louis Rams (2000 – 4)
Los Angeles Chargers (1960 – 4)
Baltimore (2019 – 3)*
*Active streak

In his past three games, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson has 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions for a 147.8 passer rating and has had a passer rating of 130-or-higher in each of those contests.

With a passer rating of 130-or-higher on Sunday against San Francisco, Jackson can become the third quarterback with four consecutive games with a passer rating of 130 or higher in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive games with a passer rating of 130-or-higher in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 130+ RATING)

John Hadl, Los Angeles Rams (1973, 4)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2015, 4)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (2019, 3)*
*Active streak

SLINGING IT DOWN SOUTH: Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (3,391) and third in passing touchdowns (22) and is one of four quarterbacks to average at least 300 passing yards per game (308.3) this season. Winston has passed for at least 300 yards and a touchdown in each of his past six games.

By passing for at least 300 yards and one touchdown on Sunday against Jacksonville, Winston would tie Peyton Manning (seven from 2012-13) for the fourth-most consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and a passing touchdown in NFL history. Winston would also join Andrew Luck (eight consecutive games in 2014) as the only players to do so in at least seven consecutive games in a single season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards and a passing touchdown in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS, CONSECUTIVE GAMES)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2011-12, 9)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (2012-13, 8)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (2014, 8)
Peyton Manning, Denver (2012-13, 7)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (2019, 6)*
*Active streak

CMC REWRITING HISTORY: Entering Week 13, Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,123), rushing touchdowns (12) and scrimmage yards (1,709). McCaffrey also leads all running backs with 68 receptions in 2019.

With seven receptions on Sunday against Washington, McCaffrey would become the fifth running back with at least 75 receptions in three seasons in NFL history.

The running backs with the most seasons with at least 75 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 75+ CATCHES)
Larry Centers – Arizona, Washington and Buffalo (5)
Marshall Faulk – Indianapolis and St. Louis Rams (5) HOF
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh (3)
Roger Craig – San Francisco (3)
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina (2)*
*Has 68 receptions in 2019

Last week, McCaffrey recorded, his fourth game with both a rushing and receiving touchdown in 2019.

With both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday, McCaffrey would join Chuck Foreman (1975) as the only players with at least five games with both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single season in NFL history.

NOT DRAFTED? NOT A PROBLEM: In 2018, Denver running back Phillip Lindsay became the third undrafted rookie with at least 1,000 rushing yards since 1970. Lindsay has followed up his rookie year with 887 scrimmage yards in 11 games this season.

With 113 scrimmage yards on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Lindsay would become the third undrafted player with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era.

The undrafted players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two seasons in the common-draft era:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASONS)
Clark Gaines, New York Jets (1976-77)
Ryan Grant, Green Bay (2007-08)
Phillip Lindsay, Denver (2018-19)*
*Has 887 scrimmage yards in 2019

NEW ERA OF TIGHT ENDS: Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz leads all tight ends with 67 receptions this season, while Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce ranks second with 63.

If Ertz has at least three receptions against Miami or Kelce against Oakland has at least seven receptions on Sunday, they would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe (five seasons) for the fourth-most seasons with at least 70 catches by a tight end in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most seasons with at least 70 receptions in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAMS (SEASONS WITH 70+ CATCHES)
Tony Gonzalez – Kansas City and Atlanta (14) HOF
Jason Witten – Dallas (9)
Antonio Gates – San Diego (6)
Shannon Sharpe – Denver and Baltimore (5) HOF
Zach Ertz – Philadelphia (4)*
Travis Kelce – Kansas City (4)#
*Ertz has 67 receptions in 2019
#Kelce has 63 receptions in 2019

Additionally, Kelce – who leads all tight ends with 833 receiving yards in 2019 – needs at least 167 receiving yards on Sunday to become the first tight end with 1,000 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons in NFL history.

Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, New Orleans, Buffalo and Dallas all played Thanksgiving Day to open play in week 13, so they have Sunday and Monday off. The Saints became the first team to win their divison this year after their win in Atlanta last Thursday night. There are no more byes on the 2019 schedule, as Arizona, Minnesota, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers return from their week of vacay. Last week was pretty good pick-wise, going 8-6 for the week, 80-61 for the season. With that on the docket, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 13.

San Francisco (10-1) at Baltimore (9-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. High powered offenses meet in Charm City as San Francisco (first place in the NFC West) faces off against Baltimore (first place in the AFC North) in what some could consider a Super Bowl preview. Both clubs were huge winners last week.

The 49ers held Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to 8 third-quarter points in the second half at Levis’ Stadium and took a 37-8 win on the West Coast last Sunday night. San Francisco took a 23-0 lead with them to the intermission in the prime time affair unchallenged before the Packers and Rodgers would break the bid for a shutout late in the third when he and WR Davante Adams hooked up on a 2-yard TD pass. The combination would hook up again on the two-point try to make the contest a 15-point affair. San Francisco, leaders in the NFC West, would restore order in the contest, as TE George Kittle (61-yard TD pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in the third) and Raheem Mostert (15-yard TD run late in the fourth) would basically seal Green Bay’s fate.

Even though Green Bay barely outrushed San Francsico 117-112, Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and a pair of TDs (including the one to Kittle), while Rodgers threw for 104 yards and the third-quarter TD (Rodgers was sacked five times, Garoppolo was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:44, while the Packers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:16, going a dismal 1 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Baltimore held the Los Angeles Rams to a pair of Greg Zuerlein field goals in the first half and sheared the Rams 45-6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Monday night. Baltimore led 28-6 at the intermission in the Monday night contest, then floored the gas in the second half, scoring 17 second half points unchallenged. Ravens RB Mark Ingram II was in Heisman form, leading all rushers with 111 yards and a TD as the Ravens held the Rams to 22 yards on the ground (Todd Gurley accounted for all of the Rams’ ground yardage), while Baltimore rushed for 285 yards. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (a Heisman winner himself) threw for 169 yards with five TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked twice (Jackson rushed for 95 yards), while Jared Goff struggled, throwing for 212 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens were 9 of 15 on third down but struck gold on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and held the ball for 39:56, while the Rams, who kept the ball for 20:04, went 2 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore leads the series 3-2 and the Ravens have outscored San Francisco 109-82. San Francisco won the last meeting in the series, coming away with the 25-20 win in 2015 in Santa Clara, while Baltimore’s last win came in Charm City in 2011 by a 16-6 final. Baltimore’s favored by 4 in Charm City and the over/under’s 46. There’s a chance that these two could meet in Miami in February. If this is a preview, the two teams should make the most of it. Baltimore takes care of business in Charm City and takes the win at home, nevermore.

Washington (2-9) at Carolina (5-6), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of struggling East Coast teams meet in Charlotte as the Carolina Panthers host Washington at Bank of America Stadium.

The Saints ended Carolina’s hopes of leaving the Big Easy with a win as New Orleans’ Wil Lutz booted a 33-yard field goal as the clock struck :00 to survive 34-31, dropping the Panthers to below the .500 mark. New Orleans led their NFC South rivals 17-15 at the intermission as Carolina’s Kyle Allen and RB Christian McCaffrey would connect on a 1-yard pass as time expired in the half. Carolina then went for two in hopes of going to the locker room tied but the try failed.

Washington picked up its first home win since week eight last year, breaking the hearts of Lions fans by eraseing a 16-13 deficit, using a pair of Dustin Hopkins field goals to come away 19-16 winnners at Fed Ex Field in Landover. Trailing 13-6 at the break, Detroit manged to tie things up in the third quarter on a 12-yard TD toss to WR Lance Thomas from Jeff Driskel. Detroit then took a 16-13 lead early in the final quarter of play on a 21-yard field goal by Matt Prater before Washington would storm their way back, as Hopkins kicked the first of his two field goals in the quarter from 42 yards, then connecting on a 39-yarder after the Redskins picked off Driskell, the second coming with 16 seconds left in the contest. Detroit would get the ball back with the time that was left on the clock and got themselves no further than their 24-yard line, where Driskel was picked off by Fabian Moreau, ending the threat and the drive.

Detroit somehow managed to outrush Washington 175-86 and Driskel threw for 207 yards and the TD to Thomas but sacked six times and threw three interceptions, including the one that ended the Lions’ hopes of tying or taking the lead, while Washington’s Dwayne Haskins threw for 156 yards with an interception and three sacks. Detroit went 6 of 15 on third down conversions and actually ruled the clock as they held on to the ball for 33:30, while the Redskins kept the ball for 26:30 and went 4 for 14 on third down tries.

Carolina, trailing by as much as 14 in the contest, would even things up at 31-31 with 9:23 left in regulation when Allen and WR D.J. Moore connected on a 2-yard TD toss. The two clubs exchanged punts and Carolina had a chance to take the lead with 1:56 left in the contest but fell short as Joey Slye’s 28-yard field goal sailed wide right. That gave New Orleans the ball and the Saints used all of the 1:56 left on the clock, making their way down the field to Carolina’s 15-yard line to set up Lutz’ game-winner. Carolina used a time out with three seconds left in an attempt to ice Lutz. The plan failed as Lutz’ try sailed through the uprights to send Saints fans home happy.

McCaffery and Saints RB Latavius Murray each lead their teams with 64 yards rushing (both had a rushing TD) as the Panthers actually outrushed New Orleans 121-118 and Brees threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs (two sacks, interception), while Allen had 256 yards with three TDs (four sacks) for Carolina. New Orleans was 4 of 10 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 28:27 (including the final 1:56 of the contest), while the Panthers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:33, going 5 of 13 on third down and 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While the Redskins lead the series 8-6, Carolina has outscored them 313-285. They last met last year in Landover and the Redskins prevailed 23-17 (Carolina’s last win in the series also came in Landover in 2016 by a final of 26-15).

The 2018 contest took place in week six and the Redskins led 17-6 at the intermission. Washington would later hold off a late
Carolina rally in the final 30 minutes of the contest to take the win at Fed Ex Field. Washington outrushed Carolina 132-81, with Peterson leading all rushers in the contest with 97 yards and Alex Smith threw for 163 yards with three sacks and no interceptions, while Newton threw for 275 yards with a sack and an interception (both men threw a pair of TDs). Washington was 7 of 16 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 35:24, while Carolina held on to the ball for 24:36, while going 3 of 9 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Washington was favored by 1 1/2 in the week six contest at Landover and they covered, winning by 6 but both teams missed the 44 1/2 over/under by 4 points (the two clubs combined for 40). Carolina’s favored by 10 and the over/under’s 40. For the Redskins, last week it was “Hail to the Redskins.” This week? “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” Carolina may not cover the 10 but the Panthers win in the Tar Heel State.

New York Jets (4-7) at Cincinnati (0-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of struggling teams meet along the shores of the Ohio River as the New York Jets make their way to Paul Brown Stadim to face off against the winless Cincinnati Bengals.

GangGreen floored the gas against Oakland last Sunday in the Meadowlands, coming away 34-3 winners at Met Life Stadium. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! erased a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, scoring their last 31 points of the contest unchallenged, taking a 13-3 lead with them to the intermission.

Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did outrush Oakland 88-68 with Jets RB LeVeon Bell leading the way with 49 yards in upstate New Jersey. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 315 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD of his own (Darnold was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 127 yards with a sack and an interception. GangGreen went 5 of 12 on third down tries and had time on their side, keeping the ball for 31:30, while the Raiders, who hung on to the pigskin for 28:30, was 5 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Bengals fans got their hearts broken (AGAIN!) as Cincinnati dropped their 11th contest in a row, falling to AFC North rival Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium 16-10. The Bengals led 7-3 at the intermission after WR Tyler Boyd caught a 15-yard TD toss from backup QB Ryan Finley (they played a scoreless first quarter; Pittsburgh took the lead with 3:21 left in the half on a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell), then watched as the Steelers took a 10-7 lead early in the third when Devlin Hodges (Who took over for Mason Rudolph) and WR James Washington connected on a 79-yard TD toss. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would connect on a 27-yard field goal to re-tie the contest before Boswell would connect on the first of two fourth quarter TDs to take the lead back for good.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cincinnati 160-86, with Steelers RB Benny Snell Jr. leading all rushers with 98 yards, while the Bengals were led by Joe Mixon with 79 yards. Rudolph threw for 85 yards with an interception before Hodges took over, throwing for 118 yards and the TD, while Finley threw for 192 yards (Finley was sacked four times, Rudolph was sacked once with a sack and an interception, while Hodges was sacked twice) for the Bengals. The Bengals were 2 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 25:20, while the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:40 and went 5 for 16 on third down.

GangGreen leads the series 15-9 (including games that were played at Shea Stadium and Riverfront Stadium/Cynergy Field) and GangGreen has outscored the Bengals 591-530. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings in the series, including a 23-22 win in the Meadowlands in 2016, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 26-10 winners in 2010 at Giants Stadium.

GangGreen’s favored by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 41 in this post-Thanksgiving contest. We won’t blame you if you took a pass on this one (unless you’re a fan of one of these teams) and watched that Bugs Bunny Christmas Marathon (granted, the idea of Wile Coyote falling off that cliff is still funny!) GangGreen covers the 3 1/2 and wins, sending the Bengals to their 12th loss in a row.

Tennessee (6-5) at Indianapolis (6-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. A pair of AFC South rivals square off in the Hoosier State as Tennessee and Indianapolis, tied for second in the division, meet at Lucas Oil Stadium. Tennesse enters the contest with a huge home win under their belts, while the Colts look to restore order after a road loss in the Lone Star State.

Tennessee manhandled Jacksonville 42-20 last Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium in the Music City. After a scoreless first quarter, Tennessee led 7-3 at the half, then the Titans would score four third quarter TDs (two of them from Derrek Henry) unchallenged to lead 35-3 before the Jaguars would respond as Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette scored the first of his two TDs (both one yard runs) and a two-point try by Nick Foles to WR D.J Chark to narrow the gap. The Titans would then ice the contest away with Ryan Tannehill scoring his second rushing TD of the day from a yard out to seal Jacksonville’s fate.

Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 219-117 and Henry led all rushers with 159 yards and his two rushing TDs, while Fournette led Jacksonville with 97 yards (also with two TDs) in the AFC South contest. Tannehill would throw for 259 yards with a pair of passing TDs to go with his two rushing scores, while Foles threw for 272 yards (neither threw an interception, Tannehill was sacked once, while Foles was sacked three times). Tennessee was 4 for 8 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 23:04, while the Jaguars ruled time, keeping the ball for 36:56, while going 7 of 18 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Houston and DeShaun Watson took over first place in the AFC South as the Texans erased a 17-13 deficit early in the final quarter of play against Indianapolis last Thursday in Houston to take a 20-17 win over the Colts. Tied at 10-10 after a scoreless first quarter, the Colts would lead 17-10 with 5:36 left in the third on a 13-yard TD run by Jonathan Williams. Houston would make the contest a 4-point affair on a 36-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn late in the third before taking the lead for keeps early in the fourth on a 30-yard TD toss from Watkins to DeAndre Hopkins. Williams would lead all rushers with 104 yards and the TD as the Colts did manage to outrush Houston 175-99 but Winston threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs to Hopkins (including the game winner), while Jacoby Brissett threw for 129 yards (both were sacked once and Watson threw the contest’s only interception). Houston went 6 of 12 on third down (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:43, while the Colts actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:17, while going of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Their last meeting was in Nashville in week two and the Colts left Nissan Stadium 19-17 winners. Leading 13-7 at the half, the Colts watched Tennessee score 10 points in the third quarted unfettered before Brissett and T.Y. Hilton would reclaim the lead for keeps with 4:38 left in the contest. Tennessee would threaten late in the contest, getting the ball back with 67 seconds left in hopes of winning but those hopes were dashed when Marcus Mariota’s fourth-down passed sailed incomplete.

Indianapolis outrushed Tennessee 167-123, with Colts RB Jordan Wilkins leading the way with 82, while Derek Henry for Tennessee tallied 81. Brissett threw for 146 yards with three TDs, three sacks and an interception, while Mariota threw for 154 yards with four sacks to go with a TD toss. The Colts were 7 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 31:54, while the Titans went 1 of 10 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs, keeping the ball for 28:06.

Tennessee was favored by 3 in the week two contest in the Music City and while the Colts left the Volunteer State with the win, they would do so only by two and the 44 1/2 over/under was safe, as the two clubs merged for 36 points. This time, the oddsmakers like the Colts as 3 point favorites in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. The Titans want revenge from their earlier loss, while the Colts want to show Tennessee that the first meeting was not a fluke. Colts cover the 3 and win back home again in Indiana.

Tampa Bay (4-7) at Jacksonville (4-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. They’re separated by 201 miles and a 3 1/2 hour drive down the Sunshine State. Jacksonville and Tampa Bay meet in north Florida for only the seventh time in the history of the series. While the visiting Bucs are coming off a win on the road, the Jaguars limp back to TIAA Stadium with a road loss under their belts.

Tampa Bay ended Atlanta’s brief 2-game win streak in the Big Peach as the Buccaneers stopped Matt Ryan and the Falcons 35-22. Atlanta saw a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter get away from them at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as Tampa Bay would take control of things in the final 45 minutes of action, outscoring their NFC South rivals 28-12 in that frame. Atlanta would find themselves held to 57 yards on the ground (the Bucs rushed for 133 yards) and Tampa Bay, who pushed themselves back into third place in the NFC South all by themselves, would sack Ryan (271 yards) six times with an interception, while Jameis Winston threw for 313 yards with a three TDs and a pair of interceptions (one TD toss went to DL Vita Vea on a tackle-eligible play late in the first half. Vea would later live out a lineman’s dream as he would sack Ryan, forcing a fumble, which teammate Ndamukong Suh picked up and ran in for a TD. Atlanta was 4 of 16 on third down but had succcess on fourth down (2 of 3) and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 31:38, while Tampa Bay, keeping the pigskin for 28:22, were 6 of 13 on third down tries.

Jacksonville found themselves being taken to task by Tennessee 42-20 last Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium in the Music City. After a scoreless first quarter, Tennessee led 7-3 at the half, then went on to score four third quarter TDs (two of them from Derrek Henry) unchallenged to lead 35-3 before the Jaguars would respond as Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette scored the first of his two TDs (both one yard runs) and a two-point try by Nick Foles to WR D.J Chark to narrow the gap. The Titans would then ice the contest away with Ryan Tannehill scoring his second rushing TD of the day from a yard out to seal Jacksonville’s fate.

Tennessee outrushed Jacksonville 219-117 and Henry led all rushers with 159 yards and his two rushing TDs, while Fournette led Jacksonville with 97 yards (also with two TDs) in the AFC South contest. Tannehill would throw for 259 yards with a pair of passing TDs to go with his two rushing scores, while Foles threw for 272 yards (neither threw an interception, Tannehill was sacked once, while Foles was sacked three times). Tennessee was 4 for 8 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 23:04, while the Jaguars ruled time, keeping the ball for 36:56, while going 7 of 18 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Jaguars lead the series 4-2 and have outscored Tampa Bay 158-126. Tampa Bay won the last contest in the series, taking a 38-31 win in Tampa Bay in 2015, while Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in north Florida by a final of 41-14 in 2011. Jacksonville’s favored by 1 and the over/under’s 48 1/2. Both clubs are trying to keep pace in their respective divisons. While this one’s not “DRILL WORTHY,” it’ll be interesting to watch. The Bucs stop here. Jacksonville covers in north Florida and takes the win at home.

Cleveland (5-6) at Pittsburgh (6-5), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Don’t expect these two to play nice and given all the bad blood between them in the last couple of weeks, expect things to be watched CLOSELY. It’s a rematch of the week 11 love/hate fest in Cleveland as the blood feud moves over to the Steel City at Heinz Field. Both teams took wins in last week’s contests.

Cleveland cruised their way to a 41-24 win over Miami at First Energy Stadium last Sunday. The Browns scored 28 first half points unchallenged, taking a 28-3 lead with them to the intermission. Miami would then score 14 third quarter points unchallenged, using an 11-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to TE Mike Gesicki and an 8-yard run by Fitzpatrick to trail by 11 going into the final quarter of play.

Cleveland would then get a pair of Austin Siebert field goals and a 5-yard run by Nick Chubb to seal the game away for Cleveland. Chubb rushed for 106 yards with the fourth-quarter TD to lead all rushers, as the Browns outrushed Miami 147-92 (Fitzpatrick led Miami with 45 yards and the rushing TD). Baker Mayfield threw for 327 yards and three TDs (two of them to WR Josh Landry, who had 148 yards on 10 catches), while Fitzpatrick threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (Fitzpatrick was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Mayfield was sacked once with an interception). Cleveland went 4 of 8 on third down and played keep-away with the ball from the Dolphins, holding on to it for 36:06, while Miami kept the ball for 23:54, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Cincinnati dropped their 11th contest in a row, falling to AFC North rival Pittsburgh at Paul Brown Stadium 16-10. The Bengals led 7-3 at the intermission after WR Tyler Boyd caught a 15-yard TD toss from backup QB Ryan Finley (they played a scoreless first quarter; Pittsburgh took the lead with 3:21 left in the half on a 26-yard field goal by Chris Boswell), then watched as the Steelers took a 10-7 lead early in the third when Devlin Hodges (Who took over for Mason Rudolph) and WR James Washington connected on a 79-yard TD toss. Bengals K Randy Bulloch would connect on a 27-yard field goal to re-tie the contest before Boswell would connect on the first of two fourth quarter TDs to take the lead back for good.

Pittsburgh outrushed Cincinnati 160-86, with Steelers RB Benny Snell Jr. leading all rushers with 98 yards, while the Bengals were led by Joe Mixon with 79 yards. Rudolph threw for 85 yards with an interception before Hodges took over, throwing for 118 yards and the TD, while Finley threw for 192 yards (Finley was sacked four times, Rudolph was sacked once with a sack and an interception, while Hodges was sacked twice) for the Bengals. The Bengals were 2 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 25:20, while the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:40 and went 5 for 16 on third down.

They met two weeks ago along the shores of Lake Erie and things were somewhat chippy but the Browns managed to prevail over AFC North rival Pittsburgh 21-7 at First Energy Stadium Thursday night. The Browns took a 14-0 lead at the intermission as Baker Mayfield ran for a TD to open the scoring and Josh Landry catching a 1-yard toss from Mayfield, closing out the scoring in the half. Pittsburgh would break the shutout bid up as Mason Rudolph and WR RB Jaylen Samuels connected on a 3-yard TD pass in the third before the Browns restored order in the fourth, with Mayfield and rookie TE Stephen Carlson connected on an 8-yard TD toss to close out the scoring.

Later in the contest, with Cleveland having victory secured, Pittsburgh had the ball at their 11-yard with 1:40 left in the contest. The Steelers would get themselves as close as their 36-yard before Rudolph was sacked twice before completing an 11-yard pass to Trey Edmonnds. While that play was going on, Rudolph and Myles Garrett were involved in a scuffle, with Garrett pushing Rudolph to the ground. Rudolph then tried to take off Garrett’s helmet at which that time, things really got heated as Garrett took Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at him, hitting him in the head. Rudolph’s teammates then came to his aid and there would be more pushing and shoving. When the dust finally settled, Garrett was ejected from the contest, along with Larry Ogunjobi and Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey.

Garrett would be suspended without pay indefinitely by the league – at a minimum for the remainder of the regular season and postseason – and must meet with the commissioner’s office prior to a decision on his reinstatement. He was also fined an additional amount. As for Pouncey and Ogunjobi? Pouncey has been suspended without pay for three games and fined an additional amount for fighting, including punching and kicking an opponent. Ogunjobi has been suspended without pay for one game and fined an additional amount for unnecessary roughness, specifically for shoving an opposing player to the ground during an altercation and the two clubs were both fined $250,000. (Cleveland’s Damarious Randall was already disqualified from the contest for a hit on Dioante Johnson in the third quarter)

Cleveland outrushed the Steelers 104-58, with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. Mayfield threw for 193 yards and a pair of TDs to go with his rushing TD (Mayfield was sacked once), while Rudolph threw for 221 yards and a TD but was sacked four times and picked off four times. Cleveland, flagged eight times for 121 yards, went 6 of 16 on third down conversions, keeping the ball for 33:56, while the Steelers were 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 3 on fourth down and held the ball for 26:04.

Cleveland was favored by 3 in their week 11 meeting along the shores of Lake Erie and the Browns covered winning by 14 but the 40 1/2 over/under was intact as both clubs combined to score 28 points. Cleveland’s favored again, this time by 2 1/2 in the Steel City and the over/under’s 39 1/2. The Steelers want revenge. The Browns want to prove that the first meeting was not a fluke. Revenge wins out. The bigger question…. will cooler heads prevail? Time will tell. Pittsburgh gets the revenge and covers the 2 1/2, winning at Heinz Field.

Philadelphia (5-6) at Miami (2-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of struggling teams meet in the Sunshine State Sunday afternoon as Miami hosts the Philadelphia Eagles at Hard Rock Stadium. Both teams are coming off losses in last week’s action.

Philadelphia lost their second home game in a row, falling to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles trailed 10-3 at the intermission and could never really get themselves on track, eventually scoring on a 2-yard pass from Carson Wentz to TE Zack Ertz with 20 seconds left in the contest. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead with 7:29 left in the first on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Elliott, only to see that lead get away from them as Wilson and Malik Turner connected on a 33-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would add a Jason Myers field goal from 24 yards late in the second quarter to lead by 7 at the intermission. Seattle’s Rashaad Penny would then add to his team’s lead, running 53 yards untouched to give the Seahawks a 17-3 lead early into the fourth quarter before Wentz and Ertz would hook up on Philadelphia’s TD late in the game (the Eagles would try for two but failed).

Penny rushed for 129 yards, leading all rushers in the contest as the Seahawks outrushed Philadelphia 174-106; Wentz threw for 256 yards with the Ertz TD (he was sacked three times and picked off twice), while Wilson threw for 200 yards with the Turner TD (Wilson threw an interception and was sacked six times) for Seattle. Philadelphia went 4 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:53, while the Seahawks, who clung to the ball for 28:07, went 5 for 14 on third down tries.

Miami found themselves being taken to task by Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, falling to the Browns as Cleveland cruised their way to a 41-24 win over Miami at First Energy Stadium last Sunday. Cleveland scored 28 first half points unchallenged, taking a 28-3 lead with them to the intermission. Miami would then score 14 third quarter points unchallenged, using an 11-yard TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to TE Mike Gesicki and an 8-yard run by Fitzpatrick to trail by 11 going into the final quarter of play.

Cleveland would then get a pair of Austin Siebert field goals and a 5-yard run by Nick Chubb to seal the game away for Cleveland. Chubb rushed for 106 yards with the fourth-quarter TD to lead all rushers, as the Browns outrushed Miami 147-92 (Fitzpatrick led Miami with 45 yards and the rushing TD). Baker Mayfield threw for 327 yards and three TDs (two of them to WR Josh Landry, who had 148 yards on 10 catches), while Fitzpatrick threw for 214 yards with a pair of TDs (Fitzpatrick was sacked four times and threw a pair of interceptions, while Mayfield was sacked once with an interception). Cleveland went 4 of 8 on third down and played keep-away with the ball from the Dolphins, holding on to it for 36:06, while Miami kept the ball for 23:54, while going 6 of 14 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

While Miami leads the series 8-6, the Eagles have outscored Miami 278-259. Miami sent Eagles fans home sad in their last meeting, which took place at Lincoln Financial Field in 2015, leaving the City of Brotherly Love 20-19 winners, while the Eagles’ last win came in Miami in 2011 by a final of 26-10. Philadelphia’s favored by 9 in the Sunshine State and the over/under’s 46. The loser of this one? All but done for the year. The winner? Their hopes stay alive for another week. Eagles may not cover the 7 1/2 but they’ll take the win in the Sunshine State.

Green Bay (8-3) at New York Giants (2-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. Green Bay, tied for first in the NFC North, makes their way to upstate New Jersey to face off against the New York Giants at Met Life Stadium. Both teams were handed road losses in last week’s action.

Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay were held to 8 third-quarter points in the second half by San Francisco at Levis’ Stadium, allowing the 49es to take a 37-8 win on the West Coast last Sunday night. San Francisco took a 23-0 lead with them to the intermission in the prime time affair unchallenged before the Packers and Rodgers would break the bid for a shutout late in the third when he and WR Davante Adams hooked up on a 2-yard TD pass. The combination would hook up again on the two-point try to make the contest a 15-point affair. San Francisco, leaders in the NFC West, would restore order in the contest, as TE George Kittle (61-yard TD pass from Jimmy Garoppolo in the third) and Raheem Mostert (15-yard TD run late in the fourth) would basically seal Green Bay’s fate.

Even though Green Bay barely outrushed San Francsico 117-112, Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and a pair of TDs (including the one to Kittle), while Rodgers threw for 104 yards and the third-quarter TD (Rodgers was sacked five times, Garoppolo was sacked twice and neither threw an interception). San Francisco went 3 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:44, while the Packers ruled the clock and held the pigskin for 35:16, going a dismal 1 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

A late New York Giants rally in the fourth quarter in Chicago fell short as the Monsters of the Midway took a 19-14 win at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon. Big Blue led 7-3 at the half in the Windy City, then watched as Chicago proceeded to score 16 third-quarter points unchallenged to take a 19-7 lead at the end of the period. Giants QB Daniel Jones and WR Golden Tate pulled themselves to within 5 with 4:10 left on a 23-yard TD toss but Chicago prevailed, holding off the Giants to take the win.

The Giants outrushed Chicago 109-65 but Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 278 yards with a TD toss to Allen Robinson and had a rushing TD of his own (Trubisky was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Jones threw for 150 yards with a pair of TDs (Jones was sacked once). Da Bears were 4 for 15 on third down conversions in the Windy City and kept the ball in hibernation for 33:11, while the Giants kept the pigskin for 26:49, going 1 of 12 on third down and 2 for 4 on fourth down.

Including games played at Milwaukee County Stadium, Yankee Stadium, the Yale Bowl and Giants Stadium, the Packers lead the series 28-23-2 and the Packers have outscored Big Blue 946-940. Green Bay’s last win in the series came at Lambeau Field, where they came away 23-16 winners in 2016, while the Giants’ last win in the series came in the Meadowlands in 2013 by a final of 27-13. Green Bay’s favored by 6 1/2 in upstate New Jersey and the over/under’s 46. In all honesty, the Giants have been playing some decent but not great football of late. As for the Packers, they’re looking to restore some order in the NFC North. Giants will make things interesting in the Meadowlands but Green Bay restores order and takes the win in upstate New Jersey.

Los Angeles Rams (6-5) at Arizona (3-7-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC West teams meet in the desert as the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, both trying to catch San Francisco in the division. Both teams are coming off losses, with Arizona coming off a bye.

The Rams were held to a pair of Greg Zuerlein field goals in the first half as Baltimore took them apart 45-6 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Monday night. Los Angeles trailed 28-6 at the intermission in the Monday night contest, then watched as the Ravens floored the gas in the second half, scoring 17 second half points unchallenged. Ravens RB Mark Ingram II was in Heisman form, leading all rushers with 111 yards and a TD as the Ravens held the Rams to 22 yards on the ground (Todd Gurley accounted for all of the Rams’ ground yardage), while Baltimore rushed for 285 yards. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (a Heisman winner himself) threw for 169 yards with five TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked twice (Jackson rushed for 95 yards), while Jared Goff struggled, throwing for 212 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions. The Ravens were 9 of 15 on third down but struck gold on fourth down, going 3 of 3 and held the ball for 39:56, while the Rams, who kept the ball for 20:04, went 2 of 9 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

San Francisco rallied in the second half against Arizona two Sundays ago to come away 36-26 winners at Levis’ Stadium. The Desert Angry Birds led 16-10 at the intermission before San Francisco got themselves off the deck in the second half, outscoring Arizona 26-10 in the final 30 minutes of action. San Francisco got a pair of TDs late in the fourth quarter, first Jimmy Garappolo connecting with RB Jeff Wilson on a 25-yard TD with 31 seconds left in the contest and DB D.J. Reed Jr. closing out the contest on a 4-yard scoop and score as time expired. While Arizona outrushed the 49ers 135-34, Garappolo burned Arizona for 424 yards and four TDs, including the game-winner (Garappolo was sacked twice and threw a pair of interceptions), while Arizona QB Kyler Murray threw for 150 yards with a pair of TD tosses and had a rushing TD of his own (Murray was sacked four times). San Francisco was 6 of 13 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down and held the ball for 28:37, while the Desert Angry Birds actually ruled the clock and kept the ball for 31:23, going 3 of 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including games in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis (both teams called St. Louis home), the Series finds itself tied 40-38-2 and the Rams have not only outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,587-1,529, they’ve swept the last two series between the two teams (Arizona’s last win over the Rams came in Los Angeles in 2016 by a final of 44-6).

Their first meeting… Los Angeles in week two. After a scoreless first quarter at the Coliseum, the Rams went on to score the next 34 points of the contest unchecked, shutting out the Desert Angry Birds 34-0 (the Rams led 19-0 at the half). Gurley ran for three TDs in the contest as Los Angeles outrushed Arizona 90-54 and Goff threw for 354 yards and a TD to TE Tyler Higbee, while Sam Bradford threw for 90 yards with a sack (Goff was sacked twice, both men threw an interception). The Rams were 8 of 15 on third down (they were 1 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:08, while Arizona held the ball for 25:52, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Los Angeles made it a sweep of the series in the desert in week 16, leaving Glendale 31-9 winners. The Rams led 21-9 at the intermission and shutout Arizona in the second half. Rams RB Charles Anderson led all rushers with 167 yards and a TD as Los Angeles outrushed Arizona 269-104 and Goff threw for 216 yards and a TD toss to WR Robert Woods, while Josh Rosen threw for 87 yards and was sacked four times. Los Angeles was 6 of 9 on third down tries in the desert and kept the ball 37:04, while the Desert Angry Birds kept the ball for 22:56, going a dismal 2 of 11 on third down (1 of 2 on fourth down).

In the week two contest on the West Coast, the Rams’ 34-point win allowed them to easily covered the 12 1/2-point spread but both clubs tallied 34 points, missing the 46 over/under. In the week 16 meeting in the desert, Los Angeles was favored by 14 and again they would cover, winning by 21. As was the case in the first meeting, both clubs failed to cover the over/under of 47 1/2 with 40 points. In the meeting in the desert, the Rams are favored by 4 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The winner stays in the race for a chance to either catch San Francisco or take a Wild Card spot, while the loser will have a lot of work to do and perhaps find themselves out of the race. Rams cover the 4 in the desert and takes the win in Glendale.

Los Angeles Chargers (4-7) at Denver (3-8), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 714. Forget the records. Despite fighting to see who stays in the AFC West cellar, A pair of AFC West/AFL rivals meet in a rematch in the Mile High City as Denver hosts the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams enter the late afternoon contest with losses under their belts.

A late Los Angeles Chargers rally two weeks ago against Kansas City in Mexico City fell short, as the first-place Chiefs left Estadio Asteca (Azteca Stadium) 24-17 winners. The Chiefs and Mahomes trailed Philip Rivers and the Chargers 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, then took a 10-9 lead with them to the intermission south of the border. Kansas City would lead by 15 with 1:44 left in the third when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 7-yard TD toss. The Bolts then went for two to make the contest a 7-point affair and the try for two was successful, as Rivers and Hunter Henry connected on the conversion. After a Chiefs punt later in the final quarter, Los Angeles would get the ball back with 1:53 left in the contest and they would make their way down the field, getting as close as Kansas City’s 14-yard line when Rivers was picked off by Daniel Sorensen in the end zone to end the threat and the Chiefs would kneel down to seal the win.

Kansas City outrushed the Chargers 130-93, with Mahomes leading Chiefs rushers with 59 yards, while Chargers RB Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 69 yards in the Monday night contest. Mahohmes threw for 182 yards and a TD toss to TE Travis Kelce (Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception), while Rivers threw for 353 yards with the TD to Allen but was sacked twice and threw four interceptions. The Chiefs, leaders in the AFC West, were 6 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 28:58, while the Chargers were actual rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:02, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Buffalo held Denver to a Brad McManus field goal in the third quarter in upstate New York as the Bills circled their wagons last Sunday to take a 20-3 win over the Broncos last Sunday. The Bills used a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals in the first half to lead 6-0 at the intermission. Josh Allen and WR Cole Beasley gave Buffalo a 13-0 lead early in the third quarter before McManus ended Buffalo’s shutout bid with a 45-yard field goal halfway in the third. Allen would connect with WR John Brown early in the final quarter to close out the scoring in the contest.

Buffalo’s Devin Singletary led all rushers with 106 yards as the Bills outrushed Denver 244-75 and Josh Allen (Buffalo) threw for 185 yards with a sack to go with the two TD passes, while Brad Allen (Denver) threw for 82 yards with four sacks (both threw an interception in the contest). Buffalo went 8 of 16 on third down conversions in upstate New York and ruled the clock as they would keep the ball for 35:04, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 24:56, going 2 of 11 on third down.

They met in week five in Los Angeles and Denver scored 17 first half points without being challenged by the Chargers, then rallied to take a 20-13 win at Dignity Health Sports Park. Chargers CB Desmond King ended Denver’s bid for a shutout with 31 seconds left in the third on a 61-yard punt return, then K Chris McLaughlin would score the first of his two field goals (45 yards) to make it a 7-point game with 6:47 left in regulation. McLaughlin would add a second field goal with 10 seconds left in the contest after McManus booted a 46-yarder with 1:55 in the period.

Denver’s Patrick Lindsay led all rushers with 114 yards and a TD in the first quarter to open the scoring in the contest, as the Broncos outrushed their AFL/AFC West rivals 191-35 and Joe Flacco threw for 182 yards and a TD (Flacco was sacked three times and picked off once), while Rivers threw for 211 yards with a pair of interceptions. The Chargers were 4 of 13 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:24, while Denver, in keeping the ball for 29:36, went 3 for 11 on third down.

In the week five contest on the West Coast, Denver’s 7-point win allowed them to cover the 6 1/2-point spread but the 33 combined points did not come anywhere near the 44 1/2 over/under. This time around, the Chargers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 38 1/2. If nothing else, this one could be “very interesting” as Arte Johnson once said. Bolts get revenge in the Rocky Mountains and cover the 2 1/2 with the road win.

Oakland (6-5) at Kansas City (7-4), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. It’s round two. Chiefs vs. Raiders. Hatfields vs. McCoys. Capulets vs. Montagues. Dogs vs. cats. The two AFL/AFC West rivals meet again, this time in the Show-Me State.

Oakland struggled in East Rutherford against the New York Jets as GangGreen floored the gas last Sunday in the Meadowlands, coming away 34-3 winners at Met Life Stadium. Oakland watched the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! erase a 3-3 tie at the end of the first quarter, scoring their last 31 points of the contest unchallenged, taking a 13-3 lead with them to the intermission.

Neither club breached the 100-yard rushing barrier but the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! did outrush Oakland 88-68 with Jets RB LeVeon Bell leading the way with 49 yards in upstate New Jersey. Jets QB Sam Darnold threw for 315 yards with a pair of passing TDs and had a rushing TD of his own (Darnold was sacked once but did not throw an interception), while Derek Carr threw for 127 yards with a sack and an interception. GangGreen went 5 of 12 on third down tries and had time on their side, keeping the ball for 31:30, while the Raiders, who hung on to the pigskin for 28:30, was 5 of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Kansas City held off a late Los Angeles Chargers rally two weeks ago in Mexico City, as the first-place Chiefs left Estadio Asteca (Azteca Stadium) 24-17 winners. The Chiefs and Mahomes trailed Philip Rivers and the Chargers 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, then took a 10-9 lead with them to the intermission south of the border. Kansas City would lead by 15 with 1:44 left in the third when Rivers and WR Keenan Allen connected on a 7-yard TD toss. The Chargers then went for two to make the contest a 7-point affair and the try for two was successful, as Rivers and Hunter Henry connected on the conversion. After a Chiefs punt later in the final quarter, Los Angeles would get the ball back with 1:53 left in the contest and they would make their way down the field, getting as close as Kansas City’s 14-yard line when Rivers was picked off by Daniel Sorensen in the end zone to end the threat and the Chiefs would kneel down to seal the win.

Kansas City outrushed the Chargers 130-93, with Mahomes leading Chiefs rushers with 59 yards, while Chargers RB Melvin Gordon led all rushers with 69 yards in the Monday night contest. Mahohmes threw for 182 yards and a TD toss to TE Travis Kelce (Mahomes was sacked once and threw an interception), while Rivers threw for 353 yards with the TD to Allen but was sacked twice and threw four interceptions. The Chiefs, leaders in the AFC West, were 6 of 13 on third down tries and held the ball for 28:58, while the Chargers were actual rulers of the clock, keeping the ball for 31:02, going 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The two AFC/AFL rivals met in Oakland in week two and the Chiefs were 28-10 winners at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Chiefs erased a 10-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter and scored their 28 points in the second quarter unchallenged to take the win (the two clubs played a scoreless second half). Mahomes threw four TDs in the quarter, two of them to WR Demarcus Robinson, one to TE Travis Kelce and one to rookie WR Mecole Hardman to seal Okland’s fate.

Oakland did outrush Kansas City 129-31 but Mahomes burned the Raiders for 443 yards and despite being sacked twice, did not throw an interception, while Carr threw for 198 yards with a TD, was picked off twice and sacked three times. Kansas City was 8 of 14 on third down conversions and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:35, while the Raiders, who held the ball for 27:25 and went 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week two contest on the West Coast, the Chiefs were favored by 7 1/2 and they coverved, winning by 18. As for the 53 1/2 over/under? It was safe and sound, as both teams merged for only 38 points. The Chiefs are favored again by Vegas, this time by 10 with the over/under at 51. The 51 is nice, the 10 is a bit on the naughty side. Oakland’s not that bad a team under Jon Gruden’s leadership and they’ll actually make this one interesting. Chiefs complete the sweep of the series in the Show-Me State but expect the Raiders to make things closer than the 10.

New England (10-1) at Houston (7-4), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of potential playoff teams meet in the Lone Star State as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on DeShaun Watson and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Both teams took wins at home in last week’s action.

The defending Super Bowl champs held Dallas to three field goals from Brett Maher as New England took Prescott and the Cowboys 13-9 at Gillette Stadium in rainy Foxboro Sunday afternoon. After the defending Super Bowl champs blocked a Dallas punt, New England went to work, using only two plays and 12 yards for the contest’s only TD as Brady and rookie N’Keal Harry connected on a 10-yard TD toss. After that, it would be all field goals as New England’s Nick Folk and Maher would kick field goals to round out the scoring.

Dallas did outrush New England 109-101 with Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott leading the way with 86 yards, while Sony Michel would lead New England with 85. Brady threw for 190 yards with the first quarter TD toss (he was sacked twice but threw no interceptions), while Prescott threw for 212 yards with a pick but was not sacked. Dallas, going 2 of 13 on third down, actually ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 30:22, while New England, keeping the ball for 29:38, went 3 for 14 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Watson and Houston took over first place in the AFC South as the Texans erased a 17-13 deficit early in the final quarter of play against Indianapolis last Thursday in Houston to take a 20-17 win over the Colts. The Texans and Colts went into the intermission tied at 10-10 after a scoreless first quarter, then the Colts would lead 17-10 with 5:36 left in the third on a 13-yard TD run by Jonathan Williams. Houston would make the contest a 4-point affair on a 36-yard field goal by Kai Fairbairn late in the third before taking the lead for keeps early in the fourth on a 30-yard TD toss from Watkins to DeAndre Hopkins. Williams would lead all rushers with 104 yards and the TD as the Colts did manage to outrush Houston 175-99 but Winston threw for 298 yards and a pair of TDs to Hopkins (including the game winner), while Jacoby Brissett threw for 129 yards (both were sacked once and Watson threw the contest’s only interception). Houston went 6 of 12 on third down (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 26:43, while the Colts actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:17, while going of 15 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

New England leads the series 8-1 and the defending Super Bowl champions have outscored Houston 283-165. New England took wins in their last two meetings, both in Foxboro with the Patriots taking a 27-20 win last year, while Houston’s lone win in the series came in 2009 in the Lone Star State by a final of 34-27.

New England and Houston wasted very little time meeting on the 2018 schedule, meeting in Foxboro in the season opener. New England led 21-6 at the intermission, then held off a late Texans rally as Houston would pull to within 7 with 2:08 left when Watson and WR Bruce Ellington connected on a 5-yard TD. Houston outrushed New England 167-122 but Brady torched Houston for 277 yards and three TDs (connecting with TE Rob Gronkowski on one of the tosses), while Watson threw for 176 yards and the fourth-quarter TD (Watson was sacked three times, Brady was sacked twice and both threw an interception). New England was 4 of 14 on third down tries at Gillette Stadium but struck pay dirt in their only fourth down try and the Pats kept the ball for 31:10, while Houston held the pigskin for 28:50, while going 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week one showdown in Foxboro, New England BARELY covered the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 7 but both teams missed the 51 over/under, tallying only 47 points. New England’s favored again, this time by 3 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense and since both are in first place in their respective divisions, it’s only fair that this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

There’s a strong chance these two could meet in the post-season party and they want to keep things that way. Meanwhile, the Patriots are kings of the NFL mountain and look to stay there. Houston makes it closer than the 3 1/2 but New England prevails, taking the win on the road in the Lone Star State.

Minnesota (8-3) at Seattle (9-2), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week 13 closes out in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as a pair of teams chasing their respective division leaders meet in the Pacific Northwest. Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson square off in prime time at Century Link Field, with both teams winning in their last contests.

Minneosta, tied for first in the NFC North, held off a late Denver rally two Sundays ago against Denver as the Vikings prevailed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes Sunday afternoon 27-23 at US Bank Stadium. Denver led 20-0 at the intermission, scoring those points unchecked before the Vikings went to work in the second half and scored 20 fourth quarter points of their own unchallenged, taking the lead for keeps with 6:01 left in the contest when WR Kyle Rudolph caught a 32-yard TD pass from Cousins to lead 27-23. After the teams exchanged the ball, Denver got it back with 5:55 left in the contest and from their 40-yard line, drove themselves all the way to Minnesota’s 4-yard line where three Brock Allen passes fell incomplete, including the final try that came with 2 seconds left to play that would have given Denver the win.

Denver did outrush Minnesota 124-37 with Patrick Lindsay leading the way with 67 yards, while Allen threw for 240 yards and TD with a pair of sacks and an interception. As for Minnesota? Cousins, despite being sacked five times, threw for 319 yards with three TDs, including the game-winner to Rudolph with no interceptions). Denver went 5 for 18 on third down and kept the ball for 36:43 (including the final 5:55 of the contest), while the Vikings held on to the ball for 23:17, going 5 of 121 on third down (the Broncos were 4 of 4 on fourth down, while Minnesota was 2 of 2).

The Seahawks went East and gave Philadelphia their second loss in a row and their second home loss as Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks took down the Eagles 17-9 at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles trailed 10-3 at the intermission and could never really get themselves on track, eventually scoring on a 2-yard pass from Carson Wentz to TE Zack Ertz with 20 seconds left in the contest. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead with 7:29 left in the first on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Elliott, only to see that lead get away from them as Wilson and Malik Turner connected on a 33-yard TD toss. The Seahawks would add a Jason Myers field goal from 24 yards late in the second quarter to lead by 7 at the intermission. Seattle’s Rashaad Penny would then add to his team’s lead, running 53 yards untouched to give the Seahawks a 17-3 lead early into the fourth quarter before Wentz and Ertz would hook up on Philadelphia’s TD late in the game (the Eagles would try for two but failed).

Penny rushed for 129 yards, leading all rushers in the contest as the Seahawks outrushed Philadelphia 174-106; Wentz threw for 256 yards with the Ertz TD (he was sacked three times and picked off twice), while Wilson threw for 200 yards with the Turner TD (Wilson threw an interception and was sacked six times) for Seattle. Philadelphia went 4 of 12 on third down tries (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:53, while the Seahawks, who clung to the ball for 28:07, went 5 for 14 on third down tries.

Seattle leads the series 10-5 and the Seahawks have outscored Minnesota 395-331. Seattle has won the last four regular season meetings, including a 21-7 win last year in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks (Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2009 in the Twin Cities by a final of 35-9.

They met in the Pacific Northwest in week 14 at CenturyLink Field and after a scoreless first quarter, Seahawks K Sebastian Janikowski gave Seattle their first points with a 37-yard field goal early in the second quarter. That would be all the scoring in the first half, as the Seahawks took that 3-0 lead with them to the intermission. After a scoreless third quarter, Seattle would tally their next 18 points of the contest unchallenged, using a second Janikowski field goal (from 35 yards), adding a Chris Carson 2-yard run (the Seahawks went for two and had success as Wilson and WR Tyler Lockett connected on the try) and a 29-yard fumble recovery by CB Justin Coleman all but sealed Minnesota’s fate before the Vikings would score with 70 seconds left in the contest when RB Dalvin Cook and Cousins connected on a 6-yard TD toss.

Seattle outrushed Minnesota 214-77, with Carson accounting for 90 of Seattle’s yards (Cook led Minnesota with 50) and Cousins threw for 208 yards, while Wilson had 72 yards in the air (Wilson was picked off once and both men were sacked twice). Seattle was 3 of 11 on third down but was successful in their only fourth down try in the contest, keeping the ball for 31:49, while the Vikings held the pigskin for 28:11 and 2 of 10 on third down, 0 of 2 on fourth down.

In the week 14 Monday night contest, the Seahawks were favored by 3 1/2 and covered, winning by 14. As for the 45 over/under? It was untouched, as the two teams merged for only 28 points.

Minnesota on Monday night? 29-32. The Vikings played once in prime time last year in the Pacific Northwest and lost. Seattle on Monday night? 24-10. Seattle played two MNF contests and split the two contests. Seattle’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 49. Both numbers are reasonable and make a ton of sense. Both teams could very well make the post-season, either as division winners or Wild Card team and this one could very well decide their futures. You might want to tape “All Rise” and “Bull” this Monday night. Minnesota will make this one closer than than the 3 but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. NFL

They’re still standing.

New England (7-0) and San Francisco (6-0) remain as the only two unbeaten teams in the NFL. Both teams took road wins last week and both teams pitched shutouts in last week’s play. Fall is in the air. Leaves are changing color, air’s getting cooler, hot Cider and Pumpkin pie are being served and in a weeks, Halloween will be upon us.

While those two teams are enjoying the fruits of their labors, Miami and Cincinnati, both winless, search for their first win and hope that they don’t get a rock in their sacks, like Charlie Brown. It’s week eight in the 2019 NFL season and while most teams are struggling, there’s still hope for either a divisional title, a Wild Card spot or another off-season second-guessing themselves. We’re near the halfway point and as a reminder, a football season is a marathon, not a sprint.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY IN WEEK 7: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers passed for 429 yards with five touchdowns, including the 350th of his career and no interceptions for a 158.3 rating, the highest attainable mark and added a rushing touchdown in the Packers’ 42-24 win over Oakland. Appearing in his 172nd career game, Rodgers surpassed Drew Brees (180 games) as the fastest quarterback to reach 350 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

Rodgers is the third player with at least 400 passing yards, five touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in a single game in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin (Week 1, 1951) and Mark Rypien (Week 11, 1991). He is also the third player in the Super Bowl era with five passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game, joining Rypien and Mark Malone (Week 1, 1985). Rodgers now has 22 career games with at least four touchdown passes, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (21 games) for the fifth-most such games in NFL history.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins passed for 337 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 141.1 rating in the Vikings’ 42-30 win at Detroit. Cousins, who passed for 306 yards with a 138.6 passer rating in Week 5 and had 333 passing yards and a 138.4 rating in Week 6, is the first quarterback to record at least 300 passing yards and a passer rating of 135 or higher in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Staffird passed for 364 yards and four touchdowns with one interception in the loss. Stafford, who has 40,277 career passing yards in 147 career games, is the first player in NFL history to reach 40,000 career passing yards in 150 games or fewer.

Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones, Jr. had four touchdown receptions in Week 7. Jones, who also had four touchdown catches in Week 8 of the 2013 season with Cincinnati, is the fourth player to have at least four touchdown receptions in two career games in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (two games) as well as Sterling Sharpe (two) and Bob Shaw (two).

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 143 yards and rushed for 116 yards with a touchdown in the Ravens’ 30-16 win at Seattle. Jackson, who has 576 rushing yards in 2019 and had 695 yards as a rookie in 2018, is the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons, joining Cam Newton (2011-12).

In his Ravens debut, cornerback Marcus Peters registered a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown. It marked the fifth interception-return touchdown of his career, tied for the third-most by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers Ken Houston (nine) and Lem Barney (six) had more. Peters, who had a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown with the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, is the first player in NFL history to record an interception return for a touchdown for two different teams in a single season.

Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook had 149 scrimmage yards (142 rushing, seven receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Vikings’ 42-30 win at Detroit, while Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette totaled 145 scrimmage yards (131 rushing, 14 receiving) in the Jaguars’ 27-17 win at Cincinnati.

Three players – Cook (945 scrimmage yards), Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey (923) and Fournette (918) – each have at least 900 scrimmage yards through Week 7. It marks the fourth time that at least three players have had at least 900 scrimmage yards through the first seven weeks of a season in NFL history.

The other three seasons with at least three players totaling 900 or more scrimmage yards through the first seven weeks: 1983 (four players – Pro Football Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Walter Payton as well as William Andrews and Joe Cribbs), 2002 (four – Pro Football Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and LaDainian Tomlinson as well as Priest Holmes and Ricky Williams) and 2003 (three – Ahman Green, Holmes and Jamal Lewis).

San Francisco earned a 9-0 win at Washington in Week 7 and advanced to 6-0 for the first time since 1990, when they began the season 10-0. The 49ers held the Redskins to 154 net yards of offense in the win. San Francisco is the sixth team since 1990 and the first since the 2005 New England Patriots (Weeks 13-15) to allow seven or fewer points and 200 or fewer net yards of offense in three consecutive games.

Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones had a career-high four sacks along with a forced fumble and fumble recovery in the Cardinals’ 27-21 win at the New York Giants. Jones is the fifth player with four sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in a single game since 2000, joining Adrian Clayborn (2017), Aaron Donald (2018), Justin Houston (2013) and Simeon Rice (2003).

Chicago wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Bears’ Week 7 loss against New Orleans. It marked the seventh career kick return touchdown for Patterson, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only Josh Cribs (eight) and Leon Washington (eight) had more.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 8

DOMINANT DEFENSE: Entering Week 8, undefeated New England (7-0) lead the league in both points for per game (31.9) and points against per game (6.9).

Against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the Patriots can become the first team to average more than 30 points per game and allow fewer than 10 points per game through eight games of a season since the 1962 Green Bay Packers.

Additionally, New England’s point differential (+175) is the second-highest at this point of a season in NFL history, trailing only the 1920 Buffalo All-Americans (+218). With a win on Sunday, New England can continue its historic point differential pace and jump into the top five in NFL history through their first eight games.

The teams with the highest point differential through their first eight games of a season in NFL history:

TEAM – SEASON (POINT DIFFERENTIAL)
Buffalo All-Americans – 1920 (+215)
New England – 2007 (+204)
Chicago Bears – 1942 (+189)
Chicago Bears – 1941 (+187)
Green Bay – 1962 (+182)
New England – 2019 (+175)*
*Through seven games

New England also tops the NFL in turnover differential (+14), led by safety Devin McCourty’s league-high five interceptions. With a positive turnover differential on Sunday, New England can move into the top five for the highest turnover margin through eight games since 1970.

The teams with the largest turnover margin through eight games since 1970:

TEAM – SEASON (TURNOVER MARGIN)
Baltimore Colts – 1977 (+22)
Cincinnati – 2005 (+20)
Denver – 1984 (+18)
Kansas City – 2003 (+18)
Minnesota – 1983 (+17)
New England – 2019 (+14)*
*Through seven games

MINING THEIR BUSINESS: San Francsico enters Week 8 as the lone undefeated team (6-0) in the NFC. San Francisco’s defense has allowed 223.5 total net yards per game – more than 100 fewer yards per game than any other team in the NFC (Dallas, 324.9) – and has limited their opponents to fewer than 200 total net yards of offense in each of the past three games.

With fewer than 200 total net yards allowed on Sunday against Carolina, San Francisco would become the sixth team to allow fewer than 200 total net yards of offense in at least four consecutive games since 1970. Three of the previous five teams to do so went on to win the Super Bowl.

The teams with the most consecutive games limiting opponents to 200 or fewer total net yards of offense since 1970:

TEAM (SEASON(S), GAMES)
Pittsburgh (1974-75, 5)#
Dallas (1977, 4)#
Dallas (1973-74; 4)
Miami (1972, 4)#
New England (2005, 4)
San Francisco (2019, 3)*
*Active streak
#Won Super Bowl

To continue its streak of games allowing fewer than 200 total net yards of offense on Sunday, San Francisco will need to limit Carolina running back Christian McCaffery, who has scored both a rushing and a receiving touchdown in each of his past two games. With both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday, McCaffrey would tie Pete Johnson (three consecutive games in 1981 with Cincinnati) for the longest streak of games with at least one rushing and one receiving touchdown in NFL history.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Dating back to Week 8 of the 2018 season, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his past seven starts on the road and his streak of eight consecutive road games with a passer rating of 110 or higher is the longest such streak in NFL history.

With at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions on Sunday at Atlanta, Wilson would surpass Tom Brady (seven games in 2010) and Nick Foles (seven in 2012-13) for the most consecutive road games with at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in NFL history.

The players with the most consecutive road games with at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON(S), GAMES)
Tom Brady, New England (2010, 7)
Nick Foles, Philadelphia (2012-13, 7)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (2018-19, 7)*
*Active streak

CAN’T STOP HOP: Since entering the league in 2013, Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins ranks second in the NFL in touchdown receptions (50), and third in catches (577) and receiving yards (7,945).

Hopkins, who will be 27 years and 143 days old on Sunday, needs 55 receiving yards against Oakland to become the third-youngest player to reach 8,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.

The youngest players to reach 8,000 career receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE)
Randy Moss, Minnesota (26 years, 297 days) HOF
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (27 years, 110 days)
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (27 years, 358 days)
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (27 years, 143 days)*
*On Sunday
HOF – Hall of Fame

SACKED IN A FLASH: Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett is tied for the league lead with nine sacks this season and has had at least two sacks in three games in 2019.

With two sacks on Sunday against New England, Garrett would become the first player since Robert Mathis (2013) and the eighth player since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, to have four games with at least two sacks through his team’s first seven games of a season.

The players with the most games with at least two sacks through their team’s first seven games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS)
Jared Allen, Minnesota (2011 – 4)
Elvis Dumervil, Denver (2009 – 4)
Mark Gastineau, New York Jets (1984 – 4)
Kevin Greene, Carolina (1998 – 4) HOF
Robert Mathis, Indianapolis (2013 – 4)
Michael Strahan, New York Giants (2001 – 4) HOF
DeMarcus Ware, Dallas (2011 – 4)
Myles Garrett, Cleveland (2019 – 3)*
*In six games
HOF – Hall of Fame

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated Sunday night’s Green Bay-Kansas City matchup as the NFL100 Game of the Week because the contest commemorates the teams that played in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, later called the Super Bowl thanks to a suggestion made by the late Lamar Hunt, owner of the Chiefs and co-founder of the AFL. On January 15, 1967, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Packers clung to a 14-10 halftime lead before breaking open the contest in the second half. Max McGee caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 35-10 win over the AFL champion Chiefs. Two networks, CBS and NBC, televised the game, which was not sold out.

YOUNG QUARTERBACKS ILLUMINATING NFL’S PATH: One of the more remarkable storylines of the NFL’s 100th season is the league’s sterling crop of young quarterbacks, and the amount of wins that group has generated. All told, 87 of 106 games (82.1 percent) have featured at least one starting quarterback age 26 or younger, more than any season ever through Week 7. Quarterbacks age 26 or younger have won 63 of their 116 starts (54.3 percent), 14 more wins than any prior season in league annals through seven weeks.

A look at some of the starting quarterbacks age 26 or younger this season:

Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen, 23, is 4-0 as a starter in 2019. He also is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to begin his career 5-0 without throwing an interception in his first five career starts.

New Orleans quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, 26, is 5-0 as a starter in 2019 with 1,370 pass yards and nine touchdowns for a 98.9 rating.

Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett, 26, has led the Colts to a 4-2 record and has thrown at least two touchdowns in five of his six starts.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, 23, is the third quarterback in NFL history with at least three games of 100 rushing yards in a single season. He is also one of three quarterbacks with five touchdown passes in a single game in 2019.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, 26, has paced the NFL’s top-ranked offense (437.9 yards per game) with 12 touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns. He is one of four quarterbacks to average at least 300 passing yards per game in 2019.

Houston quarterback DeShaun Watson, 24, has 1,952 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns in 2019.

ROOKIES COMPETING AT HIGHEST LEVELS: Jacksonville, who hosts the New York Jets on Sunday is the first team in NFL history to have a rookie (Gardner Minshew) with a passer rating of 95 or higher (minimum 100 attempts) and a rookie (Josh Allen) with five-or-more sacks through their first seven games.

Minshew leads NFL rookies in both passer rating (95.7) and touchdown passes (10). It’s only the second time in NFL history in which a rookie quarterback has compiled a 95-or-better passer rating and 10-or-more touchdown passes through seven weeks (Houston’s DeShaun Watson had a 103 rating and 19 TDs through seven games in 2017).

In fact, rookies are prevalent all over the NFL landscape as the season approaches its midway point. The 100th season is the only campaign in NFL history in which a rookie through seven weeks of play:

Has a 95-or-better passer rating (Gardner Minshew Jacksonville, 95.7),
Has 10-or-more touchdown passes (Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville, 10),
Has at least 550 rushing yards (Josh Jacobs, Oakland, 554),
Has at least 400 receiving yards (Terry McLaurin, Washington, 419),
Has five-or-more overall touchdowns (Terry McLaurin, Washington, five),
Has at least two interceptions (Devin Bush, Pittsburgh and Ryan Connelly, New York Giants, each with two)
Has at least five sacks (Josh Allen, Jacksonville, five).

A POINT ABOUT ONE-POINT GAMES: This past week, eight games were within one score (eight points or fewer) at some point in the fourth quarter. Through seven weeks, 69 of 106 games (65.1 percent) have seen a team come within one possession of tying or taking the lead in the fourth quarter. Only three previous seasons have had more one-point games through Week 7 since the 1970 merger. And only three other seasons have seen more games decided by seven-or-fewer points in NFL history.

The seasons with the most games decided by one- and seven-or-fewer points through seven weeks:

GAMES DECIDED BY ONE-OR-FEWER POINTS, THROUGH WEEK 7, SINCE 1970
2016 – 10
1999 – 10
1997 – 10
2019 – 9
1972 – 9

GAMES DECIDED BY SEVEN-OR-FEWER POINTS, THROUGH WEEK 7, ALL-TIME
2012 – 57
2016 – 56
1999 – 55
2019 – 54
2018 – 54
2011 – 54
2010 – 54

BELICHICK HAS 300 IN SIGHT: New England head coach Bill Belichick can become just the third coach in NFL history to win 300 games, including the postseason. On Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Belichick (299) can join Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324) as one of three coaches in NFL history to reach the milestone.

The head coaches with 200-or-more wins in NFL history, including the postseason:

COACH (W-L-T, PCT)
Don Shula (347-173-6, .666) HOF
George Halas (324-131-31, .682) HOF
Bill Belichick (299-134-0, .691)
Tom Landry (270-178-6, .603) HOF
Earl (Curly) Lambeau (229-134-22, .631) HOF
Andy Reid (212-140-1, .601)
Chuck Noll (209-156-1) HOF
Marty Schottenheimer (205-139-1, .596)
Dan Reeves (201-174-2, .536)
HOF – Hall of Fame
From 1920-71, tie games were not included in winning percentage.

Belichick meets the Cleveland Browns, where he served as head coach from 1991-95. Ironically, his best season in Cleveland was 1994, when he guided the 11-5 Browns to a Wild Card win over Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells and the Patriots. During his Cleveland tenure, Belichick’s Browns coaching staff and front office contained some of the NFL’s most talented minds.

A closer look at notable Cleveland Browns executives and assistant coaches during the Bill Belichick era:

INDIVIDUAL, WITH 1991-95 BROWNS (CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS)
Bill Belichick, Head coach (Won six Super Bowls with Patriots)
Thomas Dimitroff, Grounds crew assistant (Atlanta Falcons general manager, drafted MVP Matt Ryan, advanced to SB LI)
Kirk Ferentz, Offensive line coach (College Coach of Year and two Big Ten titles as head coach at Iowa)
Pat Hill, Tight ends coach (as Fresno State head coach, 17 wins over teams from power conferences)
George Kokinis, Scout (Cleveland Browns general manager)
Michael Lombardi, Director of player personnel; Senior executive, Raiders; Browns general manager
Eric Mangini, Public relations intern (New York Jets, Browns head coach; won three Super Bowls as New England assistant)
Ozzie Newsome, Director of pro personnel (Pro Football Hall of Fame, Baltimore Ravens general manager)
Scott Pioli, Pro personnel assistant (New England personnel executive; Chiefs general manager)
Nick Saban, Defensive coordinator (Won six national titles as college head coach – Louisiana State, Alabama)
Phil Savage, Scout (Cleveland Browns general manager)
Jim Schwartz, Scout (Detroit Lions head coach, won Super Bowl LII as Eagles defensive coordinator)
Mike Tannenbaum, Player personnel assistant (New York Jets, Dolphins general manager)

BOOKEND NFL POINT-DIFFERENTIALS: New England owns a plus-175 point-differential (223 points scored, 48 points allowed), the second-highest mark in NFL history through seven games. Only one other club through seven games, the 1920 Buffalo All-Americans – in the first season of league competition, 1920 – had a higher point-differential, plus-218. The only other clubs with a point-differential of at least 163 through seven games were the 1941 Chicago Bears (plus-173) and the 1921 Buffalo All-Americans (plus-163).

DOMINATING IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT FOR NEW ENGLAND DEFENSE: With road shutouts in Week 2 and Week 7, the Patriots have two road shutout wins of at least 30 points in 2019. New England is the second team in NFL history to blank an opponent on the road by at least 30 points on multiple occasions in a single season. Only the 1942 Chicago Bears (two) can claim that distinction over a full year.

The Patriots also lead the NFL with 18 interceptions this season. Through seven games, only three clubs in NFL history have had more.

The most interceptions through seven games in NFL history:

INTERCEPTIONS (TEAM, YEAR – SEASON RESULT)
20 (Green Bay, 1996 – Won Super Bowl XXXI)
19 (San Francisco, 1986 – Advanced to NFC Divisional)
19 (Pittsburgh, 1973 – Advanced to AFC Divisional)
18 (New England, 2019 – ???)
18 (Dallas, 1985 – Advanced to NFC Divisional)
18 (Los Angeles Rams, 1985 – Advanced to NFC Championship)
18 (Pittsburgh, 1983 – Advanced to AFC Divisional)
18 (Oakland, 1974 – Advanced to AFC Championship)
18 Pittsburgh, 1972 – Advanced to AFC Championship)

WELCOME BACK AT WEMBLEY, OTHER REUNIONS ON THE SCHEDULE: In addition to Belichick playing his former team, London’s Wembley Stadium hosts its first 2019 NFL game. In a reunion, Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor meets his former club, the Los Angeles Rams. Taylor served as the Rams’ assistant wide receivers coach in 2017 and quarterbacks coach in 2018, when the team advanced to Super Bowl LIII. In Week 9, Houston meets Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium and in Week 11 Kansas City meets the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City to close the NFL’s 2019 International Series.

Buffalo’s Sean McDermott hosts his former team, Philadelphia Sunday at Orchard Park. McDermott worked for the Eagles from 1999-2010. Meanwhile in Atlanta, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn hosts his former club Seattle. Quinn served as Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2013-14.

Baltimore and Dallas have byes this week. Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay return to gridiron action in week eight. Week eight got underway in the Twin Cities as Minnesota and Washington squared off and conculudes in the Steel City as Pittsburgh hosts the winless Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field. As for last week? Much better, going 8-6 for the week and 48-47 for the season. There’s still football left on the docket. Having said that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 8.
Seattle (5-2) at ATLANTA (1-6), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. Salmon meets peach pie as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks make their way to the Peach State for an early afternoon contest with the Atlanta Falcons. Both teams come into Saturday’s contest with home losses under their belts.

Wilson and the Seahawks could never get on track against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday afternoon in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks as the Seahawks dropped a 30-16 decision at CenturyLink Field. Seatlle and the Ravens went to the intermission tied at 13-13 after the Ravens’ Jeff Tucker gave them a 3-0 lead after one quarter, then were outscored by the Ravens 17-3 in the final 30 minutes of action in the Pacific Northwest. Jackson burned Seattle for 116 yards and had a rushing TD of his own as the Ravens outrushed Seattle 199-106 and Jackson threw for 143 yards, while Wilson threw for 241 yards with a TD to Tyler Lockett and an interception (both were sacked once). Seattle was 10 of 17 on third down conversions in the Pacific Northwest and actually ruled the clock, as they would keep the ball for 30:06 to Baltimore’s 29:54 (the Ravens were 5 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Atlanta, who will have Matt Schwab under center, while Matt Ryan is out with an ankle injury, watched Los Angeles snap a 3-3 tie in the first quarter as the Rams would score 24 unanswered points (10 in the second quarter, 14 in the third) to take a 37-10 loss in the Big Peach last Sunday, dropping their sixth contest in a row in their loss to the defending NFC champions. The Falcons trailed 13-3 at the half and could never get themselves on track in the contest, as they were held to 38 yards rushing (the Rams tallied 90) and Ryan (159 yards) was sacked five times with an interception, while Jarred Goff threw for 268 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Todd Gurley, the other to TE Gerald Everett). Atlanta was a somewhat dismal 3 of 12 on third down conversions in the Big Peach and kept the ball for 22:51, while the Rams ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 37:09, while going 8 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Seahawks lead the series 10-6 and have outscored Atlanta 438-391. Their last meeting took place in 2017 in the Pacific Northwest and the Falcons came away 34-31 winners in a Monday night contest (Seattle’s last win over the Falcons came in 2016 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Startbuck by a final of 26-24. Seattle’s favored by 3 1/2 in the Big Peach and the over/under is 53 1/2. Falcons end their losing streak as they go into their bye week and covers the 3 1/2.

Philadelphia (3-4) at Buffalo (6-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. Cheesesteak meets wings in upstate New York as the Buffalo Bills circle their wagons and host the Philadelphia Eagles at New Era Field.

The Eagles make their way to the shores of Lake Erie with a 37-10 loss at Dallas under their belts Sunday night. Philadelphia trailed 27-7 at the half at AT&T Stadium and could never get themselves on track in the prime time contest in the Lone Star State. Philadelphia found themselves being outrushed by Dallas 189-115 and Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott led all rushers with 111 yards and a TD, while Dak Prescott threw for 239 yards and had a rushing TD of his own. Carson Wentz led Philadelphia with 191 yards in the air (both Wentz and Prescott threw a TD, was sacked three times and threw an interception). The Eagles, who turned the ball over four times, went 3 of 9 on third down tries (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:38, while the Cowboys, who took over first place in the NFC East, was stingy with the clock, keeping the ball hostage for 32:22 and went 8 of 14 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Buffalo held off AFC East rival Miami 31-21 Sunday afternoon in upstate New York. The Bills erased a 14-9 deficit at the break and after a scoreless third quarter, floored the gas, outscoring Miami 22-7 in the final period and put a nail in Miami’s coffin with 98 seconds left when S Micah Hyde returned a Miami onside kick 45 yards for a TD after the Dolphins pulled themselves to within three when Ryan Fitzpatrick scored from 11 yards away. Buffalo outrushed Miami 117-109 and Josh Allen threw for 202 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception (Allen was sacked twice), while Fitzpatrick threw for 282 yards with a TD pass in addition to his rushing TD with an interception. Buffalo went 3 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:29, while the Dolphins actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:31, going 7 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

While the Eagles hold a 7-6 lead in the series, both clubs have scored 245 points in the series. Philadelphia’s last win in the series came in the City of Brotherly Love, coming away 23-20 winners in 2015, while Buffalo’s last win came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2011 by a final of 31-24. Buffalo’s favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under is 43 1/2. The Eagles would love nothing more than to break their losing string in upstate New York. As for the Bills? They’re having nothing of it. Buffalo circles the wagons in upstate New York by winning in Orchard Park and covers the 1 1/2.

Los Angeles Chargers (2-5) at Chicago (3-3), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers make their way to the Windy City for an early afternoon (early morning on the West Coast) showdown with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Both teams look to right their ships after losses in last Sunday’s action.

The Bolts come into Soldier Field 23-20 losers at Tenneseee last Sunday. Los Angeles and Tennessee played to a 10-10 first half tie, then the Titans would pull away in the final 30 minutes of play at Nissan Stadium, trailing by as much as 10 with 5:09 left in the contest when Rivers and RB Austin Eiker connected on a 41 yard TD toss to pull themselves to within 3. That would be as close as they would get as Tennessee would take control of things and take the 3-point win in the Music City. Tennessee outrushed the Bolts 97-39 and Titans RB Derek Henry would lead all rushers with 90 of those yards and a TD. Ryan Tannehill, who took over for the benched Marcus Mariota, threw for 312 yards and an interception, while Rivers threw for 329 yards with a sack (Tannehill threw an interception, both he and Rivers threw a pair of TDs). Both teams were 6 of 11 on third down (the Titans were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Titans ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:15 to the Chargers’ 27:45.

Da Bears let a 10-9 lead against Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints get away from them late Sunday afternoon as the Saints would leave the Windy City 36-25 winners at Soldier Field. The special teams for both clubs took the spot light in the first half as New Orleans blocked a Pat O’Donnell punt in the first quarter for a safety, then the Bears’ Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD. After an Eddie Pinero field goal gave Da Bears the lead, New Orleans would take the lead back and for keeps late in the first half and Chicago would trail 12-10 and the half. New Orleans would go on to score 24 second half points without a challenge before Chicago scored twice in the fourth quarter to make the contest closer. Chicago would find themselves held to a season-low 17 yards rushing, while the Saints ran roughshod at Soldier Field, tallying 151 yards of rushing for their own. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 251 yards but was sacked twice, whil Bridgewater threw for 281 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs without an interception, Bridgewater was sacked once). The Saints were 7 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 37:26, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 22:34, went 2 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

While Da Bears lead the series 7-5 (including contests that were played in San Diego), the Chargers have outscored Chicago 232-204. Chicago has won the last two meetings, including a 22-19 win at Qualcomm in 2015, while the Chargers’ last win over Da Bears also came at Qualcomm, as the Bolts came away 14-3 winnners in 2007. Da Bears are favored by 4 in the Windy City and the over/under’s 41. Da Bears forget what happened to them last week at Soldier Field and takes the win in the Windy City, covering the 4.

New York Giants (2-5) at Detroit (2-3-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of struggling NFC teams meet in the Motor City as the New York Giants square off against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Both teams lost home games in last Sunday’s action.

Arizona and Murray held off a late New York Giants rally in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon, leaving upstate New Jersey 27-21 winners at Met Life Stadium. Big Blue trailed 17-14 at the half, then watched Arizona hold serve as they outscored Big Blue 10-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Arizona outrushed the Giants 156-107 with Cardinals RB Chase Edmons leading all rushers with 126 yards and three TDs (Sequan Barkley led the Giants with 72 yards and a TD). Murray threw for 104 yards for the Cardinals, while Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones threw for 223 yards with a TD but threw an interception and was sacked eight times. Arizona was 7 of 15 on third down tries in upstate New Jersey (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:59, while the Giants were 30:01 in time of possession, going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Minnesota erased a 21-21 tie against NFC North rival Detroit at Ford Field and the Vikings came away 42-30 winners Sunday afternoon. Lions fans watched with horror as Minnesota outscored them 21-9 in the final 30 minutes of action. Stafford threw for 364 yards but was sacked four times with an interception for the Lions, while Kirk Cousins threw for 337 yards with no interceptions or sacks (both men threw four TDs) in the contest in the Motor City. Minnesota outrushed Detroit 166-81, with Vikings RB Dalvin Cook leading all rushers with 142 yards and a pair of TDs. Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:10 and went 6 of 10 on third down tries, while the Lions were 6 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 27:50.

Including games that were played in Portsmouth when the Lions were known as the Spartans, games played at Tiger Stadium, Yankee Stadium and Giants Stadium, Detroit leads the series 22-21-1 and have outscored the Lions 757-652. Detroit won the last meeting with Big Blue in the Meadowlands, taking a 24-10 win in 2017, while the Giants’ last win came in 2016 (also in the Meadowlands) by a final of 17-6. Detroit’s favored by 7 and the over/under is 48. Take a pass on this one (unless you’re a fan of one or both of these teams).

Denver (2-5) at Indianapolis (4-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. Horsepower takes center stage at Lucas Oil Sunday afternoon as the Colts host the Denver Broncos. While the Colts are coming into the contest with a close win over AFC South rival Houston, the Broncos limp into the contest with an AFC West loss to Kansas City last Thursday night.

Denver scored the first six points of the contest against AFC West rival Kansas City last Thursday night at Empower Field at Mile High, then watch Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs score all 30 of their points in the game unchallenged, coming on the short end of a 30-6 primetime loss. Denver trailed 20-6 at the half, then watched the Chiefs score 10 more times in the final 30 minutes of play. Royce Freeman opened the scoring in the contest for Denver, giving them their only score with 9:06 left in the first quarter when he scored from a yard away. Denver then went for two and failed, which opened the door for the Chiefs, who took over from that point. Kansas City outrushed Denver 80-71 with Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 64 yards, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 117 yards and a TD toss to Tyreek Hill before leaving the contest with a dislocated knee cap. Denver’s Joe Flacco threw for 213 yards in the lopsided contest and was sacked eight times. Denver went 1 of 13 on third down (the Broncos were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:47, while the Chiefs, breaking their two-game losing streak, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:13, going 5 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

The Colts hung a 30-23 loss on Houston last Sunday in the Hoosier State. Indianapolis led 14-9 at the half at Lucas Oil Stadium, before the Texans would pull themselves to withing five with 6:38 left in the contest when DeAndre Hopkins scored on a 4-yard TD toss from Deshaun Watson. The Texans then saw their hopes dashed with 2:41 left to play when Zach Pascal got a safety when he picked up a sack in the end zone to seal the deal. Houston outrushed the Colts 100-62 and Watson threw for 308 yards and the TD to Hopkins but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 326 yard and four TDs (two to Pascal and one to T.Y. Hilton) with one sack and no interceptions. Houston was 4 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:08, while the Colts ruled time and kept the ball for 32:52, going 8 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Broncos lead the series 14-10 (including games that were played in Baltimore when the Colts were in that city), Denver has outscored Indianapolis 551-496 and the Broncos have come away winners in the last two contests, including taking a 25-13 win in 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium, while the Colts’ last win also came in the Hoosier State by a 27-24 final in 2015. The odds makers like the Colts as 5 1/2 point favorites in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 43 1/2. In the battle for the corral, Indy prevails and wins at home, even though Denver could make it closer than 5 1/2.

New York Jets (1-5) at Jacksonville (3-4), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A struggling New York Jets team makes their way down I-95 to face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Sunshine State. The two clubs enter Sunday’s contest with opposite results from last week’s play.

Six turnovers (two fumbles, four interceptions) doomed New York last Monday night in the Meadowlands as Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs manhandled the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 33-0 at Met Life Stadium. Brady and the Patriots scored all of their points in the contest unchallenged and GangGreen could never get themselves on track, trailing 24-0 at the break. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! came close to scoring twice but Sam Darnold (86 yards, sack) threw two of his four interceptions. GangGreen did outrush New England 81-74 and Brady threw for 249 yards and a TD (Brady threw an interception) in the lopsided loss. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were a dismal 2 of 13 on third down tries in upstate New Jersey (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:33, while the Patriots ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 38:27, went 7 of 16 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Jacksonville erased a 10-9 deficit against Cincinnati at the end of the third quarter to drop their seventh contest in a row, falling to the Jaguars 27-17 at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati led 7-6 at the intermission after Dalton (276 yards, three interceptions) and Joe Mixon connected on a 2-yard TD toss with 85 seconds left. Jacksonville then proceeded to rule the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bengals 18-7 and scoring those 18 points unchallenged. The Jaguars would take the lead for good in the final quarter when WE Keelan Cole and rookie QB Gardner Minshew connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Jacksonville then went for two and found sucess when Minshew (255 yards) and Chris Conley connected on the conversion. Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue would live a lineman’s dream as he picked off Dalton and returned the ball 23 yards for a score and after Jaguars K Josh Lambo connected on a 26-yard field goal to close out the scoring, Dalton would score on a 1-yard run with 23 seconds left in the contest. Jacksonville outrushed the Bengals 216-33 and Leonard Fournette returned to his old form, leading all rushers with 131 yards in the contest (Dalton led Cincinnati with 33 yards, both Minshew and Dalton were sacked twice). Cincinnati was 5 of 12 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 21:43, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 38:17, going 4 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Jacksonville holds a 7-6 lead in the series and have outscored GangGreen 263-220. They met last year in the Sunshine State and the Jaguars were 31-12 victors (New York’s last win in the series came in 2017 in the Meadowlands as the Jets needed overtime to take a 23-20 win).

They met in week four at TIAA Bank Field in the Sunshine State and Jacksonville led 16-0 at the intermission, then took an 18-0 lead with 12:22 left in the third quarter before the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! got on the board with the first of four Jeff Myers field goals, ending Jacksonville’s shutout bid. Jacksonville held New York to 34 yards of rushing, tallying 126 yards on the ground of their own, while Blake Bortles threw for 388 yards and a pair of TDs (Darnold threw for 167 yards and a TD; Bortles was sacked twice, Darnold was sacked three times).

Jacksonville was 6 of 15 on third down conversions but hit pay-dirt on fourth down (1 of 1) and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 37:35 to the Jets’ 22:25 (New York was 3 of 13 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down). In the week four contest in the Sunshine State, the Jaguars were favored by 7 1/2 and covered, winning by 19. The two teams covered the 38 over/under, tallying 43 points in the AFC contest. Jacksonville’s favored by 6 and the over/under’s 41. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! are looking to exorcise themselves from last week, while the Jaguars are looking to even their record at the .500 mark. Jaguars prevail in the Sunshine State and covers the 6.

Cincinnati (0-7) at Los Angeles Rams (4-2), 1 p.m. Eastern (6 p.m. in London) on CBS and DirecTV 707. Tea and Crumpets! The struggling Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams make their way across the Big Pond in the third game of the London series at Wembley Stadium. Cincinnati looks to end their seven-game losing streak, while the defending NFC champs look to keep pace in the NFC West with San Francisco.

The Bengals watched Jacksonville erase a 10-9 lead at the end of the third quarter to drop their seventh contest in a row, falling to the Jaguars 27-17 at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati led 7-6 at the intermission after Dalton (276 yards, three interceptions) and Joe Mixon connected on a 2-yard TD toss with 85 seconds left. Jacksonville then proceeded to rule the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bengals 18-7 and scoring those 18 points unchallenged. The Jaguars would take the lead for good in the final quarter when WE Keelan Cole and rookie QB Gardner Minshew connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Jacksonville then went for two and found sucess when Minshew (255 yards) and Chris Conley connected on the conversion. Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue would live a lineman’s dream as he picked off Dalton and returned the ball 23 yards for a score and after Jaguars K Josh Lambo connected on a 26-yard field goal to close out the scoring, Dalton would score on a 1-yard run with 23 seconds left in the contest. Jacksonville outrushed the Bengals 216-33 and Leonard Fournette returned to his old form, leading all rushers with 131 yards in the contest (Dalton led Cincinnati with 33 yards, both Minshew and Dalton were sacked twice). Cincinnati was 5 of 12 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 21:43, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 38:17, going 4 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Atlanta watched Los Angeles snap a 3-3 tie in the first quarter as the Rams would score 24 unanswered points (10 in the second quarter, 14 in the third) to take a 37-10 win in the Big Peach last Sunday, dropping the Falcons to their sixth contest in a row in their loss to the defending NFC champions, who ended their three-game losing streak in the process. Leading 13-3 at the half, the Rams held Atlanta in check in the second half, holding the Falcons to 38 yards rushing, while the Rams tallied 90. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (159 yards) was sacked five times with an interception, while Jarred Goff threw for 268 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Todd Gurley, the other to TE Gerald Everett). Atlanta was a somewhat dismal 3 of 12 on third down conversions in the Big Peach and kept the ball for 22:51, while the Rams ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 37:09, while going 8 of 16 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Including those contests that were played in St. Louis when the Rams were there the Bengals lead the series 8-5, Cincinnati has outscored the Rams 245-235 and have won the last three meetings, including taking a 31-7 win in Cincinnati in 2015, while the Rams’ last win came in St. Louis by a final of 27-10 in 2003. The Rams are favpred by 13 on the other side of the Atlantic and the over/under’s 48. The 48 makes a lot of sense, it’s the 13 that has us wondering. The Bengals may be a bad football team now but they’re not 13 points bad. Cincinnati will make it closer than the 13 but the Rams prevail in London and take the win.

Arizona (3-2-1) at New Orleans (6-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. Kyler Murray vs. Teddy Bridgewater. They meet in the Big Easy as New Orleans plays host to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Both teams were road winners in last Sunday’s action.

Arizona and Murray held off a late New York Giants rally in the Meadowlands last Sunday afternoon, leaving upstate New Jersey 27-21 winners at Met Life Stadium. The Desert Angry Birds took a 17-14 lead at the half, then held serve as they outscored Big Blue 10-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Arizona outrushed the Giants 156-107 with Cardinals RB Chase Edmons leading all rushers with 126 yards and three TDs (Sequan Barkley led the Giants with 72 yards and a TD). Murray threw for 104 yards for the Cardinals, while Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones threw for 223 yards with a TD but threw an interception and was sacked eight times. Arizona was 7 of 15 on third down tries in upstate New Jersey (they went 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:59, while the Giants were 30:01 in time of possession, going 4 of 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

New Orleans and Bridgewater erased a 10-9 deficit against Chicago late Sunday afternoon as the Saints would leave the Windy City 36-25 winners at Soldier Field. The special teams for both clubs took the spot light in the first half as New Orleans blocked a Pat O’Donnell punt in the first quarter for a safety, then the Bears’ Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD. After an Eddie Pinero field goal gave Da Bears the lead, New Orleans would take the lead back and for keeps late in the first half and Chicago would trail 12-10 and the half. New Orleans would go on to score 24 second half points without a challenge before Chicago scored twice in the fourth quarter to make the contest closer. Chicago would find themselves held to a season-low 17 yards rushing, while the Saints ran roughshod at Soldier Field, tallying 151 yards of rushing for their own. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 251 yards but was sacked twice, whil Bridgewater threw for 281 yards (both men threw a pair of TDs without an interception, Bridgewater was sacked once). The Saints were 7 of 15 on third down tries and kept the ball for 37:26, while Chicago, keeping the ball for 22:34, went 2 of 12 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Including contests played in St. Louis when the Cardinals played their home games at Busch Stadium and games played at Tulane Stadium, the Desert Angry Birds lead the series 15-14 and have outscored the Saints 671-643. New Orleans won the last meeting between the two teams, coming away 48-41 winners in the desert in 2016, while the Desert Angry Birds took a 31-19 win in the desert in 2015. The Saints are favored by 10 1/2 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 49. Both teams have played some decent football of late and there’s a chance the Saints could get Drew Brees back after their bye week (the Saints host Atlanta in the week 10 contest). New Orleans wins this one but expect the Desert Angry Birds to make things closer than 10 1/2.

Tampa Bay (2-4) at Tennessee (3-5), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of struggling teams meet in the Music City as Tampa Bay takes on Tennessee at Nissan Stadium. The Bucs return to play from their bye week, while Tennessee held off the Chargers at home.

Tampa Bay returns from their bye week after Carolina completed their sweep of NFC South rival Tampa Bay, coming away on the short end of a 37-26 loss at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Carolina scored the first 10 points of the game in the first quarter unchallenged and led Jameis Winston and the Bucaneers 17-7 at the break. The Panthers would hold off Tampa Bay in the second half, outscoring the Buccaneers 20-19 in the final 30 minutes of action. Neither club breached the 100 yard-barrier on the other side of the Atlantic but Carolina did outrush Tampa Bay 59-42 and Kyle Allen (taking over for Cam Newton) threw for 227 yards and a pair of TDs (Allen was sacked twice), while Winston threw for 400 yards with a TD pass and a 2-point conversion but was sacked seven times and picked off five times. Tampa Bay was 3 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:10 to Tampa Bay’s 28:50; the Buccaneers were 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Tennessee held off a late Los Angeles rally last Sunday and came away 23-20 winners in the Music City. Los Angeles and Tennessee played to a 10-10 first half tie, then the Titans would pull away in the final 30 minutes of play at Nissan Stadium, trailing by as much as 10 with 5:09 left in the contest when Rivers and RB Austin Eiker connected on a 41 yard TD toss to pull themselves to within 3. That would be as close as they would get as Tennessee would take control of things and take the 3-point win in the Music City. Tennessee outrushed the Bolts 97-39 and Titans RB Derek Henry would lead all rushers with 90 of those yards and a TD. Ryan Tannehill, who took over for the benched Marcus Mariota, threw for 312 yards and an interception, while Rivers threw for 329 yards with a sack (Tannehill threw an interception, both he and Rivers threw a pair of TDs). Both teams were 6 of 11 on third down (the Titans were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and the Titans ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 32:15 to the Chargers’ 27:45.

Including games played in Houston when the Texans were known as the Oilers, Tennessee leads the series 9-2, have outscored the Buccaneers 273-178 and won the last two contests in the series, including a 42-24 victory in the Sunshine State in 2015, while Tampa Bay’s last win against the Titans came in 2007 at Raymond James Stadium by a final of 13-10. The over/under for this one? 45 1/2 and the Titans are favored by 2 1/2. If you took a pass on this one, we wouldn’t blame you. Titans cover the 2 1/2 in the Music City and takes the win.

Carolina (4-2) at San Francisco (6-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. San Francisco, sitting atop the NFC West mountain, host the Carolina Panthers, in the chase in the NFC South as they chase New Orleans. Both teams had wins in their last contest, San Francisco winning on the road last Sunday, while the Panthers were winners on the other side of the Atlantic two weekends ago.

Carolina comes back from their bye after they completed their sweep of NFC South rival Tampa Bay, coming away 37-26 winners at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Carolina scored the first 10 points of the game in the first quarter unchallenged and led Jameis Winston and the Bucaneers 17-7 at the break. The Panthers would hold off Tampa Bay in the second half, outscoring the Buccaneers 20-19 in the final 30 minutes of action. Neither club breached the 100 yard-barrier on the other side of the Atlantic but Carolina did outrush Tampa Bay 59-42 and Kyle Allen (taking over for Cam Newton) threw for 227 yards and a pair of TDs (Allen was sacked twice), while Winston threw for 400 yards with a TD pass and a 2-point conversion but was sacked seven times and picked off five times. Tampa Bay was 3 of 15 on third down (the Panther were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:10 to Tampa Bay’s 28:50; the Buccaneers were 5 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.
The 49ers come back home unbeaten, using three Robbie Gould field goals at rainy FedEx Field to take a 9-0 win over the Washington Redskins last Sunday afternoon. After a scoreless first half, the 49ers kept themselves in the ranks of the unbeatens, using three Robbie Gould field goals in the second half to seal the win. San Francisco outrushed Washington 137-104, with Redskins RB Adrian Peterson leading the way with 81 yards. Case Keenum threw for 77 yards with no TDs or interceptions (he was sacked three times), while Jimmy Garoppolo (sacked twice) threw for 151 yards with an interception. The Redskins were 3 of 9 on third down conversions in Landover (0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:36, while the 49ers held the ball hostage for 33:24, going 7 of 16 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The Panthers lead the series 13-7, have outscored the 49ers 517-426 and have come away winners in their last six meetings, including a 23-3 win on the West Coast in 2017, while San Francisco’s last win came in 2001 in Charlotte (when both teams were in the Western Division) by a final of 25-22 in overtime.

The 49ers are off to their best start since 1990, when they finished 14-2 and won the West and have won three straight games, holding their opponents to 7 points or less. San Francisco’s favored by 5 1/2 and the over/under’s 42. Both numbers make sense. Carolina’s hoping to keep pace in the NFC South, while the 49ers look to stay unbeaten. San Francisco prevails on the West Coast and covers the 5 1/2.

Oakland (3-3) at Houston (4-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of AFC teams that lost on the road last week meet in the Lone Star State as the Texans host Oakland at NRG Stadium.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers took care of business at Lambeau last Sunday afternoon, taking care of Derek Carr and the Raiders 42-24 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. Oakland trailed 21-10 at the half and then watched as Green Bay held serve, outscoring the Raiders 21-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Oakland outrushed Green Bay 155-60 and Raiders rookie RB Josh Jacobs led all rushers with 124 yards, the Raiders were in Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood, as he burned Oakland for 429 yards, five TD passes and had a rushing TD of his own without an interception (he was sacked once). AS for Carr, he threw for 293 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Darren Waller (Carr threw an interception). Green Bay was 6 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:24, while the Raiders were 7 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 29:36.

Houston returns home with a 30-23 loss to Indianapolis in tow last Sunday in the Hoosier State. Houston trailed 14-9 at the half at Lucas Oil Stadium and trailed by five with 6:38 left in the contest when DeAndre Hopkins scored on a 4-yard TD toss from Deshaun Watson. The Texans then saw their hopes dashed with 2:41 left to play when Zach Pascal got a safety when he picked up a sack in the end zone to seal the deal. Houston outrushed the Colts 100-62 and Watson threw for 308 yards and the TD to Hopkins but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Colts QB Jacoby Brissett threw for 326 yard and four TDs (two to Pascal and one to T.Y. Hilton) with one sack and no interceptions. Houston was 4 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:08, while the Colts ruled time and kept the ball for 32:52, going 8 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Houston leads the series 6-4 and the Texans have outscored the Silver and Black 246-199. Their last meeting took place south of the border in Mexico City in 2016 and the Raiders would wind up winning that contest 27-20 on the Monday before Thanksgiving, while Houston’s last win in the series came on the West Coast in 2014 by a final of 30-14. Houston’s favored by 6 1/2 and the over/under’s 51 1/2. Both teams look to keep pace in their respective divisions but in the end, the Texans come out on top. Houston may not cover the 6 1/2 but they take the win in the Lone Star State.

Cleveland (2-3) at New England (7-0), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. Baker Mayfield vs. Tom Brady. One has Super Bowl rings, the other wants one. The unbeaten Patriots return to Foxboro for a late-afternoon meeting with the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland and Mayfield come back to play in week eight after their 32-28 loss to Seattle at FirstEnergy Stadium two Sundays ago. The Seahawks trailed 20-18 at the half along the shores of Lake Erie, then went to work in the second half, outscoring Cleveland 14-8 in the final 30 minutes of action, with RB Chris Carson scoring the game-winner with 3:30 left in the contest on a one-yard run. The Seahawks would go on to hold off a late Browns rally in the final minutes of the contest when K.J. Wright picked off Mayfield, giving them the ball and allowing them to run out the clock. Carson led all rushers with 124 yards and the game-winning TD, while Nick Chubb led Cleveland with 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns (WR Odell Beckham, Jr. led all recievers with 101 yards on six catches), while Wilson threw for 295 yards with a pair of TD passes and Mayfield throwing for 249 yards with a TD and three interceptions (Wilson was sacked three times and both Wilson and Mayfield had a rushing TD). Seattle went 6 of 13 on third down tries and held on to the ball for 33:41, while the Browns, who held on to the ball for 26:19, went 3 of 8 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Brady and the Patriots took advantange of six New York Jets turnovers (two fumbles, four interceptions), dooming their AFC East rivals as the defending Super Bowl champs manhandled the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 33-0 at Met Life Stadium. Brady and the Patriots scored all of their points in the contest unchallenged and GangGreen could never get themselves on track, as New England led 24-0 at the break. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! came close to scoring twice but Sam Darnold (86 yards, sack) threw two of his four interceptions. While GangGreen did outrush New England 81-74, Brady threw for 249 yards and a TD (Brady threw an interception) in the lopsided loss. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were a dismal 2 of 13 on third down tries in upstate New Jersey (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 21:33, while the Patriots ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 38:27, went 7 of 16 on third down tries, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Browns lead the series 12-11 and have outscored New England 428-412. New England’s last win came in Cleveland in 2016, with the Patriots coming away with the 33-13 win, while Cleveland’s last win came along the shores of Lake Erie in 2010 by a final of 34-14. New England’s favored by 13 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. The Browns have been somewhat entertaining of late and they’re not 13 points bad. Still, the defending Super Bowl champs prevail at home in Foxboro and could very well cover the 13.

Green Bay (6-1) at Kansas City (5-2), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. A pair of classic rivals meet at Arrowhead as Green Bay travels to the Show Me State for a Sunday night meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both clubs took wins in last week’s action, as the Chiefs opened week seven play on the road, while the Packers were big winners at home at Lambeau.

Rodgers and the Packers took care of business at Lambeau last Sunday afternoon, taking care of Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders 42-24 in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst. Green Bay led 21-10 at the half and then held serve, outscoring the Raiders 21-14 in the final 30 minutes of action. While Oakland outrushed Green Bay 155-60 and Raiders rookie RB Josh Jacobs led all rushers with 124 yards, the Raiders were in Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood, as he burned Oakland for 429 yards, five TD passes and had a rushing TD of his own without an interception (he was sacked once). AS for Carr, he threw for 293 yards and a pair of TDs to TE Darren Waller (Carr threw an interception). Green Bay was 6 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:24, while the Raiders were 7 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the pigskin for 29:36.

Denver scored the first six points of the contest against AFC West rival Kansas City last Thursday night at Empower Field at Mile High, then watch Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs score all 30 of their points in the game unchallenged, coming on the short end of a 30-6 primetime loss. Denver trailed 20-6 at the half, then watched the Chiefs score 10 more times in the final 30 minutes of play. Royce Freeman opened the scoring in the contest for Denver, giving them their only score with 9:06 left in the first quarter when he scored from a yard away. Denver then went for two and failed, which opened the door for the Chiefs, who took over from that point. Kansas City outrushed Denver 80-71 with Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 64 yards, while Patrick Mahomes threw for 117 yards and a TD toss to Tyreek Hill before leaving the contest with a dislocated knee cap. Denver’s Joe Flacco threw for 213 yards in the lopsided contest and was sacked eight times. Denver went 1 of 13 on third down (the Broncos were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:47, while the Chiefs, breaking their two-game losing streak, ruled the clock and kept the ball for 32:13, going 5 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.
The Chiefs lead the series 7-3-1 (including contests that took place at Milwaukee and at Swope Field in Kansas City) and have outscored the Packers 230-204. Green Bay won the last meeting, which took place in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst, as the Packers were 38-28 winners at Lambeau in 2015, while the Chiefs’ last win came at Arrowhead in 2011 by a final of 19-14.

Given that these two teams played in the very first Super Bowl and that they could very well meet in Miami, it’s only fitting that this one becomes “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Green Bay’s favored by 4 at Arrowhead and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Both numbers make a ton of sense. Both teams are in first place in their respective divisions and both clubs could very well meet in Miami for the Lombardi Trophy. Everything may be up to date in Kansas City but the Packers take the win at Arrowhead and covers the 4.

Miami (0-6) at Pittsburgh (2-4), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. A pair of struggling AFC teams close out play in week eight as the Dolphins travel to the Steel City for a prime time showdown with the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Buffalo snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as they held off AFC East rival Miami 31-21 Sunday afternoon in upstate New York. Miami led 14-9 at the break and after a scoreless third quarter, watched as Buffalo floored the gas, outscoring Miami 22-7 in the final period and put a nail in Miami’s coffin with 98 seconds left when S Micah Hyde returned a Miami onside kick 45 yards for a TD after the Dolphins pulled themselves to within three when Ryan Fitzpatrick scored from 11 yards away. Buffalo outrushed Miami 117-109 and Josh Allen threw for 202 yards and a pair of TDs without an interception (Allen was sacked twice), while Fitzpatrick threw for 282 yards with a TD pass in addition to his rushing TD with an interception. Buffalo went 3 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:29, while the Dolphins actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 33:31, going 7 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Steelers return from their bye week, getting revenge on the Los Angeles Chargers as they held off a late rally in the fourth quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park and took care of the Bolts 24-17 on the West Coast. The Steelers scored all 24 of their points unchalleged, leading 17-0 at the intermission before the Chargers would score their points in the fourth quarter, using a pair of TD passes from Rivers to TE Hunter Henry to pull themselves to within 7 with 79 seconds left in the contest. Pittsburgh outrushed Los Angeles 124-32 and Rivers threw for 320 yards with the two Henry TDs (Rivers was sacked once and picked off twice), while rookie QB Devlin Hodges (taking over for Mason Rudolph – concussion) threw for 132 yards and a TD to James Conner. Both clubs did quite well on third down conversions in the Sunday night contest; Pittsburgh was 8 of 13, Los Angeles was 7 of 12 and the Steelers ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:05 to the Chargers’ 25:55.

While Pittsburgh leads the series 12-11 (including games played at the old Orange Bowl and Three Rivers Stadium), the Dolphins have outscored Pittsburgh 477-436. Miami won the last two meetings in the series, taking a 30-15 win in the Sunshine State in 2016 in their last contest, while Pittsburgh’s last win came in Miami in 2010 by a final of 23-22. Both clubs have done reasonably well on Monday night; Miami is 19-9, while the Steelers are 28-21. Since both clubs are somewhat struggling, you might want to take a pass on this one and watch “Bull” this week. The Steelers are favored by 14 1/2 in the Steel City and the over/under is 43 1/2. If anything, if you’re a fan of either team, by all means watch; otherwise, you’d be better off watching something else. While Miami’s bad, they’re not 14 1/2 bad. Pittsburgh wins this one but expect Miami to make things closer than 14 1/2.

Three weeks down, 14 to go.

The leaves are turning color in most places in the United States and there is stil lots of football left in the 2019 NFL season. There’s still time for those teams looking for that first win to get it. Football is a fickle mistress that must be treated with great care. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

SEVEN FROM LAST SUNDAY

Three teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (3-0), Detroit (2-0-1) and San Francisco (3-0) – are undefeated through the first three weeks of the 2019 season.

2019 marks the fourth time that at least four teams have started the season undefeated through their first three games after missing the postseason the previous year since 1990 when the current playoff format was instituted, joining 2013, 2003 and 2002.

New England defeated the New York Jets, 30-14 in Week 3. New England is the first team to not allow a passing or rushing touchdown in each of their first three games of a season in the Super Bowl era. Additionally, the Patriots are the first team to hold opponents scoreless in the first half of five consecutive games, including the postseason, the longest such streak in the Super Bowl era.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who passed for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, has 71 career games with at least 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, surpassing Peyton Manning (70) for the second-most such games in NFL history. Only Drew Brees (93) has more such performances in league annals. Appearing in his 20th career game, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 374 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 132.0 rating in the Chiefs’ 33-28 win over Baltimore. Through 20 career games, Mahomes has the highest marks by a quarterback in passing yards (6,576), passing touchdowns (60) and passer rating (115.3 – minimum 100 attempts) in NFL history.

Mahomes recorded his 13th career game with at least 300 pass yards, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer KURT WARNER (12 games) for the most by a player in his first 20 career games in NFL history. Mahomes – who passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in Week 1 and 443 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2 – is the first player to record at least 350 passing yards, three touchdown passes and zero interceptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones passed for 336 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 112.7 rating and added two rushing touchdowns in the Giants’ 32-31 win at Tampa Bay. Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a single game since 1970. Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett had four sacks in the loss. Barrett has eight sacks through the Buccaneers’ first three games, tied with Mark Gastineau (1984) for the most by a player in his team’s first three games of a season since 1982.

Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 34-14 win over Oakland. Cook – who rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 and 154 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 – is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 110 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in each of his team’s first three games of a season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Jim Brown (1958), Curtis Martin (2004), O.J. Simpson (1975) and Emmitt Smith (1995).

New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara had 161 scrimmage yards (92 receiving, 69 rushing) and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) in the Saints’ 33-27 win at Seattle. Kamara, who has 23 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns in 34 career games, is the fifth player in league annals with at least 20 rushing touchdown and 10 receiving touchdowns in his first three seasons, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, Roger Craig, Chuck Foreman and Abner Haynes.

Carolina running back Christian McCaffery totaled 188 scrimmage yards (153 rushing, 35 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in the Panthers’ 38-20 victory at Arizona. McCaffrey, who had 209 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns in Week 1, is the fourth player with at least 185 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in two of his team’s first three games of a season in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1963), Adrian Peterson (2010) and Billy Sims (1980).

The NFL rolls into Week 4 with two significant early trends that separate this year from any of the previous 99 seasons: Quarterbacks are getting younger and the league-wide passer rating, the highest it’s ever been through three weeks, is on an upward slope. This week, the NFL concludes a September that has seen both the highest collective passer rating ever through three weeks and the most starting quarterbacks (20 in Week 3) age 26 or younger in league history. Meanwhile, each week continues to produce close games and stirring second-half comebacks and rookies continue to progress into household-name territory.

CLOSE GAMES INCREASINGLY COMMON: Through the first three weeks, 23 of 48 games (47.9 percent) have been decided by six points or less. Only one other time in league history (24 in 2013) has the final margin been six points or fewer in more games over three weeks of NFL play. Plus, 26 of 48 games (54.2 percent) have been decided by seven points or less, tied for third in league history after three weeks.

The most games decided by six-or-fewer points and seven-or-fewer points, through three weeks in NFL history:

Games decided by six points or fewer

2013 – 24
2019 – 23
2016 – 22
2000 – 21
Many – 20

Games decided by seven points or fewer

2016 – 28
2013 – 28
2019 – 26
1988 – 26
2011 – 25

REBOUNDS ALSO ON THE RISE: Four teams that missed the postseason in 2018 – Buffalo (3-0), Detroit (2-0-1), Green Bay (3-0) and San Francisco (3-0) – are undefeated through the first three weeks. Since the current playoff format began in 1990, this year marks just the fourth time that at least four teams have started the season undefeated through their first three games after missing the postseason the previous year. It also happened in 2002, 2003 and 2013.

If Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay win this week, the league will have four undefeated teams through the first four weeks, among those that didn’t qualify for the postseason the prior year (including 3-0 San Francisco, on its bye in Week 4). It’s happened once previously, when Carolina, Denver, Kansas City and Minnesota opened 4-0 in 2003, after missing the playoffs in 2002. The Panthers advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII that season.

HIGHEST PASSER RATING EVER THROUGH THREE WEEKS: It’s an arms race! NFL passers have compiled a 94.3 rating through three weeks, while the average age among starting quarterbacks has decreased each week.

The highest aggregate passer ratings through a season’s first three weeks in NFL history:

YEAR – PASSER RATING
2019 – 94.3
2018 – 93.2
2015 – 91.1
2014 – 90.6
2017 – 90.3

ROOKIES PREVALENT ON NFL LANDSCAPE: Youth is being served! Through three weeks, 11 of 32 NFL teams have rookies leading or tied for their team lead in passer rating, rushing yards, receiving yards, tackles or interceptions. That includes Pittsburgh, whose rookie linebacker Devin Bush not only leads the Steelers with 29 tackles; he also leads the league with three fumble recoveries.

Last week in his first NFL start, New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones passed for 336 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 112.7 passer rating. He also added two rushing touchdowns, including the game-winning 7-yard score with 76 seconds remaining, in his team’s 32-31 win at Tampa Bay. Since at least the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Jones is the first rookie with at least 300 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the same game.

A look at rookies who lead their teams or are tied for their team lead through three weeks:

PASSER RATING*

QB, TEAM (RATING)
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville (110.6)
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (109.7)
Kyler Murray, Arizona (79.0)

RUSHING YARDS

RUSHER, TEAM (YARDS)
Josh Jacobs, Oakland (228)
David Montgomery, Chicago (147)
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia (106)
*min. 40 attempts

RECEIVING YARDS

PLAYER, TEAM (YARDS)
Marquise Brown, Baltimore (282)
Terry McLaurin, Washington (257)
Preston Williams, Miami (115)

INTERCEPTIONS

PLAYER, TEAM (INTERCEPTIONS)
Ryan Connelly, New York Giants (1)
Darnell Savage, Green Bay (1)
Preston Williams, Miami (115)

ROOKIES GETTING TO QUARTERBACK: For the first time since 1982, when individual sacks became an official statistic, five rookies have at least 1.5 sacks entering Week 4. Carolina has two of those five: Brian Burns and Christian Miller each have 2 sacks. Jacksonville defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen (2), New England defensive lineman Chase Winovich (2) and New York Giants defensive end/linebacker Oshane Ximines (1.5) round out the group.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK: Two games on Sunday feature a battle of undefeated foes, both in the early afternoon window. New Era Field in Buffalo hosts a clash of the 3-0 teams atop the AFC East in upstate New York. New England, whose point-differential (89) is 36 points higher than number 2 Dallas (53), plays Buffalo, off to their best start since they began 3-0 in 2011. Buffalo seeks its first 4-0 start since 2008.

No NFL division has seen multiple teams start 3-0 since 2015, in the NFC South (Atlanta and Carolina). This season, both the AFC East and the NFC West (Rams and 49ers) have a pair of 3-0 teams.

At Ford Field in Detroit, Kansas City (3-0) meets Detroit (2-0-1), who with a win would be undefeated through four games for the first time since opening 5-0 in 2011.

CONSISTENT CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: Both New England and the Los Angeles Rams have authored a 3-0 encore after meeting in Super Bowl LIII. The defending Super Bowl teams haven’t started that well in 21 years, when both Denver and Green Bay were 3-0 to start the 1998 season after clashing in Super Bowl XXXII. The last time both Super Bowl teams were 4-0? It was also the Broncos and Packers in 1998.

STRONG STARTS: On Sunday Night Football, Dallas makes a trip to their neighboring state to meet New Orleans in the Big Easy. The Cowboys with a win would be off to their best start in 12 years, since opening 5-0 in 2007. With a win last Sunday over the Steelers, San Francisco is off to its best start in 21 years. The 49ers are on a bye this week but can advance to their first 4-0 start in nearly three decades with a win at home over Cleveland in Santa Clara on Monday, October 7. Seven teams are 3-0 entering Week 4.

The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs have each started 3-0 for a second consecutive season. The last time the same two NFL teams opened 3-0 in back-to-back years was 2015-16 (Denver and New England). The last time the same two teams opened 4-0 in consecutive seasons was 1968-69, when the Rams and Dallas did the feat.

The last time each of the other 3-0 teams improved to 4-0:

TEAM, LAST 4-0 START (SEASON RESULT)
San Francisco, 1990 (NFC Championship)
Dallas, 2007 (NFC Divisional)
Buffalo, 2008 (Missed playoffs)
Green Bay, 2015 (NFC Divisional)
New England, 2015 (AFC Championship)

CONTAGIOUS COMEBACKS: In 12 of 48 games (25 percent), a team has come back to tie or win after trailing in the fourth quarter.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL 100 Game of the Week. Each game is a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated the Chargers-Dolphins contest as the NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK because it honors one of the most thrilling games ever played, the Epic in Miami. On January 2, 1982, at the Orange Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN FOUTS led his Chargers to an incredible 41-38 overtime win over the Dolphins. In a thrilling AFC Divisional playoff that Sports Illustrated called, “The Game No One Should Have Lost,” the Dolphins overcame a 24-0 first-quarter deficit. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula inserted backup quarterback Don Strock to spark the Dolphins, who capitalized on four Miami takeaways to capture their first lead in the fourth quarter. But the Chargers cashed in their own takeaways, including a Pete Shaw fumble recovery that halted a potential game-icing Dolphins drive with less than 5 minutes left. On the Dolphins’ doorstep with under a minute on the clock and submerged by Miami’s pass rush, Fouts threw a blind, 9-yard pass in the direction of his intended receiver, Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow. The overthrown pass, however, sailed into the arms of Charger James BrooksAMES BROOKS for a game-knotting touchdown. In a 38-38 game, Strock then quickly maneuvered the Dolphins into field-goal position, where the 6-foot-5 Winslow deflected Uwe Von Schamann’s kick to force overtime. In the extra frame, each team orchestrated long drives, only to see their kickers miss field goals, including another Chargers block, this time by Leroy Jones. Finally, Fouts engineered a 74-yard drive to set up Rolf Bernirschke’s game-ending 29-yard field goal and – 13 minutes, 52 seconds, into OT – San Diego advanced, 41-38. Fouts and Strock combined for 856 yards passing. Five players topped 100 yards receiving. Following the season, Miami advanced to two of the next three Super Bowls.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 4

100 IN 100: Through the first three weeks of the NFL’s 100th season, 11 quarterbacks have a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 20 attempts), the most through three weeks in NFL history. That list of quarterbacks includes two rookies, Daniel Jones (New York Giants) and Gardner Minshew (Jacksonville), along with two second-year quarterbacks, Kyle Allen (Carolina) and Lamar Jackson (Baltimore). In total, six quarterbacks under the age of 25 and eight under the age of 30 have a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 20 attempts) through the first three weeks.

The quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher this season (minimum 20 attempts):

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE, PASSER RATING)
Kyle Allen, Carolina (23, 144.4)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (24, 134.9)
Dak Prescott, Dallas (26, 128.0)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (30, 119.6)
Tom Brady, New England (42, 116.5)
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (22, 113.9)
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis (26, 112.0)
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville (23, 110.6)
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (22, 109.7)
Deshaun Watson, Houston (24, 108.6)
Case Keenum, Washington (31, 100.0)

Six other quarterbacks, including Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (99.3) and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Philip Rivers (98.5), have a passer rating of 95 or higher this season and look to join this group after Week 3. Through a season’s first four weeks, only 2015 and 2007 have featured at least 11 quarterbacks with a passer rating of 100 or higher (minimum 20 attempts).

The seasons with the most quarterbacks with a passer rating of at least 100 through four weeks (min. 20 attempts):

SEASON – QUARTERBACKS WITH 100+ RATING THROUGH 4 WEEKS

2015 – 11
2007 – 11
2018 – 10
2017 – 9
2019 – 11*

*Through Week 3

MAHOMES STREAKING: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 374 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Chiefs’ 33-28 win over Baltimore last week. Mahomes – who passed for 378 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1 and 443 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 2 – is the first player to record at least 350 passing yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Dating back to Week 6 of the 2018 season, the reigning league MVP has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 14 consecutive games. With at least two touchdown passes on Sunday at Detroit, Mahomes can tie Peyton Mannig (15 consecutive games) for the most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history.

The most consecutive games with at least two touchdown passes in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM (SEASON(S)(CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 2+ PASS TDs)
Peyton Manning – Denver (2013-14)(15)
Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City (2018-19)(14)*
Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers (2017-18)(13)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (2011)(13)
Tom Brady – New England (2010-11)(13)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (2004)(13)
*Active streak

Mahomes can also become the fifth player in NFL history to throw at least three touchdowns in each of his first four games of a season.

The players with the most consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes to begin their season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, MOST CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 3+ PASS TDs TO BEGIN THEIR SEASON)

Tom Brady, New England (2017, 10)#
Steve Young, San Francisco (1998, 5) HOF
Dan Marinom Miami (1987, 4)HO
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams (1999, 4) HOF#
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (2019, 3)*
*Active streak
#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

CAROLINA KYLE: In his first start of the season last week, Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen passed for 261 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 144.4 passer rating in the Panthers’ Week 3 win. Allen also threw for 228 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 111.3 rating in Carolina’s Week 17 victory in 2018, his first career start.

With at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions on Sunday at Houston, Allen would become the first player in the Super Bowl era to throw at least two touchdown passes without an interception in each of his first three career starts.

COOKING UP YARDS: Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 3 win over Oakland and has recorded at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown in each of his first three games of the season. His 375 rushing yards lead the league through three weeks.

With at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on Sunday at Chicago (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Cook would become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in each of his team’s first four games to begin a season.​

The players with at least 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in each of their team’s first four games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, MOST GAMES WITH 100+ RUSH YARDS & RUSH TD TO BEGIN SEASON)
Jim Brown, Cleveland (1958, 6) HOF
O.J. Simpson , Buffalo (1975, 5) HOF
DeMarco Murray, Dallas (2014, 4)
Emmitt Smith, Dallas (1995, 4) HOF
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota (2019, 3)*

15,000 FOR FRANK: Buffalo running back Frank Gore has rushed for 14,912 yards over his 15-year NFL career. With 88 rushing yards on Sunday against New England, Gore would become the fourth player in league history to reach 15,000 career rushing yards. The other three players are all enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The players with the most career rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) RUSHING YARDS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (18,355) HOF
Walter Payton – Chicago (16,726) HOF
Barry Sanders – Detroit (15,26) HOF
Frank Gore – San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami and Buffalo (14,912)*
*Active

WALLER BALLER: Oakland tight end Darren Waller had a career-high 13 catches for 134 yards last week. His 26 receptions rank second in the league and lead all tight ends through the first three weeks of the season.

With eight receptions on Sunday at Indianapolis, Waller would surpass Antonio Gates (33 receptions) for the most receptions by a tight end through his team’s first four games of a season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receptions through their team’s first four games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (SEASON, RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Gates, San Diego (2007, 33)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans (2014, 32)
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia (2018, 31)
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland (2013, 30)
Darren Waller, Oakland (2019, 26)*
*Through Week 3

SHAQ ATTACK: Tampa Bay linebacker Shaquil Barrett enters Week 4 with a league-leading eight sacks. Barrett registered three sacks in Week 2, followed by a career-high four-sack performance last week, tying a Tampa Bay single-game franchise record.

With at least 1.5 sacks on Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, Barrett would surpass Mark Gastineau (nine sacks, 1984), Kabeer Gbaja-BiamilaLA (nine, 2001) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (nine, 1998) for the most sacks by a player through his team’s first four games of a season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks through their team’s first four games of a season since 1982:

PLAYER, SEASON (TEAM, SACKS)
Mark Gastineau, 1984 (New York Jets, 9)
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, 2001 (Green Bay, 9)
Kevin Greene, 1998 (Carolina, 9) HOF
William Gay, 1983 (Detroit, 8.5)
Shaquil Barrett, 2019 (Tampa Bay, 8)*

*Through Week 3

Additionally, with at least three sacks in Week 4, Barrett can become the first player wi​​th at least three sacks in three consecutive games since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

Week four got underway at Lambeau as the Packers fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as Green Bay hosted Philadelphia and concludes in the Steel City as Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati Monday night. Byes for this week? San Francisco and the New York Jets. As for last week? A lot better. 10-6… best.week.ever and for the season, we’re 25-23. There’s still football left to play. With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week 4.

Tennessee (1-2) at ATLANTA (1-2), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. A pair of 1-2 teams meet in the Big Peach as Tennessee makes the 243-mile trip south to face off against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. Both teams are searching for wins to even their records.

Held to a third-quarter TD by Derrick Henry, Tenneseee lost to AFC South rival Jacksonville 20-7. Tennessee trailed 14-0 (Jacksonville scored both early TDs in the first quarter) at TIAA Field last Thursday night and could never get themselves on track in the Sunshine State. Tennessee did out-rush Jacksonville 91-88 in the Thursday night contest and Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards but was sacked nine times, while Jaguar QB Gardner Minshew threw for 204 yards with no sacks (neither threw an interception). Tennessee went 8 for 17 on third down and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 35:16, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 24:44, going 2 of 11 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

The Falcons were flagged 16 times for 128 yards in their 27-24 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday. Although they trailed 20-6 at the half, Atlanta would go on to outscore the Colts 21-7 in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, pulling themselves to within 7 with 4:11 when Ryan and All-Pro WR Julio Jones connected on a 10-yard TD toss. The Colts would then get the ball back on the kickoff and run out the clock to take the win at Lucas Oil Stadium. Atlanta out-rushed the Colts 93-88 and Davonta Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards. Ryan threw for 304 yards and three TDs (two to TE Austih Hooper) with an interception but no sacks, while the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett threw for 310 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack (Marlon Mack led the Colts with 74 rushing yards and a TD). Atlanta was 8 of 10 on third down and the Falcons would keep the ball for 28:37, while the Colts ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:23, going 5 of 8 on third down.

Including games that were played in Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers and the Falcons played their home games at Fulton County Stadium and the Georgoa Dome, the series is even at 7-7. Atlanta has outscored the Titans 331-313 and have won the last two meetings in the series, including a 10-7 win in 2015 in the Music City, while Tennessee’s last win over the Falcons came in 2007 in Nashville by a final of 20-13. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Falcons as 4 1/2 point favorites in the Big Peach and the over/under’s 46 1/2. Both numbers make sense. Both teams are looking to right their ships from last week. Falcons RISE UP in the Big Peach to take the win and covers the 4 1/2.

Cleveland (1-2) at Baltimore (2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Mayfield vs. Jackson. A pair of top NFL QB draft picks meet in Charm City as the Ravens, atop first place in the AFC North, take on the Cleveland Browns in Baltimore. Both teams enter the Sunday afternoon contest with close losses from last week under their belts.

A late Cleveland rally against Los Angeles fell short as the Rams came away 20-13 winners at First Energy Stadium last Sunday night. Cleveland led 6-3 at the intermission before Jared Goff connected on a pair of TD passes to Cooper Kupp, the second one giving Los Angeles the lead back for keeps with 12:48 left in the contest. Greg Zuerlein would then add a 37-yard field goal to push the lead to a 3-point margin and the Rams stopped Baker Mayfield inside their 10-yard line as four of Mayfield’s passes fell incomplete in the final seconds of the contest.

Cleveland out-rushed Los Angeles 95-90 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading all rusher with 96 yards, while former Georgia teammate Todd Gurley leading Los Angeles with 48. Goff threw for 268 yards with the two Kupp TDs (he was sacked twice and picked off twice), while Mayfield threw for 195 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Rams in the Sunday night contest along the shores of Lake Erie went 6 of 14 on third down and held the ball for 28:23. As for the Browns? They were 6 of 16 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down but ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:37.

Batlimore trailed Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City lead 23-6 at the intermission at Arrowhead Stadium, then watched Lamar Jackson and Baltimore out-score them 22-10 in the seconds but fell short, as the Chiefs would be the ones escaping with a 33-28 win. Jackson would make it an 8-point contest with 2:01 left in the game but the Ravens would miss the two-point try. The Chiefs would then get the ball back after the kickoff and they would run out the clock and take the win. Mark Ingram rushed for 103 yards and three TDs as the Ravens ran for 203 yards (Kansas City rushed for 140) and Jackson threw for 267 yards with three sacks (neither Jackson or Mahomes threw an interception). Batlimore went 5 of 13 on third downs at Arrowhead (they were 3 for 4 on fourth down) and the Ravens actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:44, while the Chiefs held the pigskin for 27:16, going 5 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Baltimore leads the series, 30-10 and the Ravens have out-scored Cleveland 927-598. The two clubs split their two meetings, with each taking wins at home.

The first meeting? Cleveland in week 5 and the contest was an all-field goal affair as the Browns needed overtime to take a 12-9 win along the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland scored the only TD in the contest when Mayfield and WR Rashard Higgins connected on a 19-yard toss with 40 seconds left before the intermission to take a 6-3 lead (they would miss the extra point). Baltimore took a 3-0 lead into the first quarter of play thanks to a Jeff Tucker field goal before the Browns would lead 6-3 at the half.

Greg Joseph would then give Cleveland a 9-3 lead that would not last long as Tucker would kick a pair of field goals, including one that would tie the contest at 9-9 with 52 seconds left in regulation. Each team got a chance to score in the overtime and it would be the Browns that would prevail, as they used a 7-play, 65-yard drive that used 2:55 of clock and it would be Joseph that would send Browns fans home happy as he connected on a 37-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the extra period.

Baltimore out-rushed Cleveland 116-112 and Mayfield threw for 342 yards with five sacks to go with the TD toss, while Joe Flacco threw for 298 yards with a pair of sacks (each threw an interception). Cleveland was 6 of 19 on third down (the Browns were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 36:16, while the Ravens were 4 of 16 on third down (Baltimore was 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 33:42.

Baltimore would get revenge in Charm City in week 17 and took the AFC North title in the process, surviving a late Browns scare and taking a 26-24 win at M&T Bank Stadium. In the season finale, the Ravens led 20-7 at the half before Cleveland stormed back in the final 30 minutes of play, pulling themselves to within 2 with 3:24 left in the contest when WR Antonio Calloway and Mayfield connected on a 1-yard TD toss. The Browns would get the ball back with 1:49 left but four Mayfield passes went incomplete. That in turn gave Baltimore the ball back and the Ravens would run out the clock and take the win in Charm City.

Baltimore out-rushed Cleveland 296-50, with Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon paving the way with 117 yards. Jackson threw for 179 yards with a pair of sacks and no interceptions, while Mayfield threw for 376 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. While the Ravens were 3 of 13 on third down, they were succesful in their only fourth down try, keeping the ball for 38:30; the Browns kept the ball for 21:30 and went 4 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Baltimore was favored by 3 in the week 5 contest in the Buckeye State and Cleveland covered with the 3-point overtime win but the 47 over/under stayed in tact as both clubs combined for only 21 points. Baltimore was favored in the season finale in Charm City by 6. While the Ravens did win, they only won by 2 but both teams scored 50 points, which covered the 41 over/under. Baltimore’s favored by 6 1/2 in this first meeting and the over/under’s 45. Both numbers make a ton of sense and both are capable of making the post-season party. The Browns are looking to get back to the post-season, while the Ravens are the defending AFC North champs. Break out the crabcakes! Cleveland could make this closer than 6 1/2 but Ravens prevail in Charm City.

New England (3-0) at Buffalo (3-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They bpth share the same divison and they’re both unbeaten. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in upstate New York as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots travel to Orchard Park for an early afternoon meeting with the Buffalo Bills.

The defending Super Bowl champions held the New York Jets to a pair of second-half TDs at Foxboro as the Pats would take GangGreen to the woodshed 30-14 at Gillette Stadium. Brady and the Patriots led 20-0 at the intermission and never looked back in their AFC East opener. New England grounded the Jets’ rushing game, holding them to to a season-low 36 yards, while the Pats would rush for 68 and Brady threw for 306 yards wtih a pair of TDs and no sacks or interceptions, while Luke Falk, the third QB of the season for the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! threw for 98 yards with five sacks and an interception. New England went 6 of 15 on third down conversions in Foxboro and kept the ball for 35:14, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were 0 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

Buffalo held off Cincinnati 21-17 at New Era Stadium last Sunday. The Bills led the Bengals 14-0 at the intermission in upstate New York, then watched the Bengals outscore Buffalo 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to make the contest closer than Bills fans would like. Buffalo ran for 175 yards, holding the Bengals to 67 yards (Bills RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 76 yards and a TD), while Josh Allen threw for 243 yards for the Bills with an interception (Andy Dalton threw for 249 yards and two interceptions and a pair of sacks; both Dalton and Allen threw a TD in the contest). The Bengals, who turned the ball over three times in upstate New York, went 3 for 11 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 23:06, while Buffalo ruled the clock and circled their wagons around the ball, keeping it for 36:54 and went 5 of 13 on third down tries.

New England leads the series 73-43-1 (which includes contests that were played at Fenway Park, Schafer Stadium in Boston and war Memorial Stadium in Buffalo), have out-scored the Bills 2,608-2,137 and have won the last five meetings, sweeping last year’s contests (Buffalo’s last win over the Patriots came in 2016 in Foxboro, where they shutout the Patriots 16-0).

Meeting number one… week eight in upstate New York (46 degree temperature at kickoff with a 39 degree wind chill) and the Patriots held Buffalo to a pair of Stephen Hauschka field goals to take a 25-6 win in Orchard Park. New England led 9-3 at the half, then proceeed to floor the gas in the second half, outscoring Buffalo 16-3 in the final 30 minutes of play.

New England rushed for only 76 yards but managed to hold the Bills to 46 yards, Brady threw for 324 yards, while Bills QB Derek Anderson threw for 290 yards (Brady was sacked twice but did not throw an interception, while Anderson threw three interceptions with being sacked three times). New England was 5 of 14 on third down conversions and kept the ball for 31:50, while the Bills kept the ball for 28:10, going 4 of 14 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

New England made the series a clean sweep in their week 16 contest in Foxboro, as they would take a 24-12 win at Gillette Stadium. Although they led 14-0 at the break, New England was outscored by Buffalo 12-10 in the second half, with the Bills pulling to within 12 with 68 seconds left in the contest as Allen and WR Zay Jones connected on a 31-yard toss. New England took care of things on the ground, tallying 273 rushing yards, holding Buffalo to 72, with Patriots RB Sony Michel leading the way with 116 yards and a TD. Brady threw for 126 yards with a TD to Josh Edelman, while Allen threw for 217 yards (both threw a pair of interceptions and Brady was sacked once). New England was 3 of 12 on third down (they were 1 of 2 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 35:38; the Bills kept the ball for 24:22, going 2 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week eight contest in upstate New York, New England easily covered the 14-point spread, winning by 19. The 44 1/2 over/under? It was safe, as both teams combined for 31 points. In the week 16 contest in Foxboro, New England covered the 12 1/2-point spread, winning by 14. The 44 1/2 over/under? Untouched, as both teams merged for 36 points. New England’s favored by 7 and the over/under’s 42 1/2. Given the records, this one’s “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

These two for the time being are the kings of the AFC East mountain but there can be only one king. The Bills will make this one closer than the 7 but Brady and the Patriots prevail in upstate New York, taking the win.

Kansas City (3-0) at Detroit (2-0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. An unbeaten Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs make their way to the Motor City to face off against Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Both enter the contest with close wins under their belts.

Mahomes (three TDs) and the Chiefs led 23-6 at the intermission at Arrowhead Stadium, then watched Lamar Jackson and Baltimore out-score them 22-10 in the seconds, escaping with a 33-28 win. Jackson would make it an 8-point contest with 2:01 left in the game but the Ravens would miss the two-point try. The Chiefs would then get the ball back after the kickoff and they would run out the clock and take the win. Mark Ingram rushed for 103 yards and three TDs as the Ravens ran for 203 yards (Kansas City rushed for 140) and Jackson threw for 267 yards with three sacks (neither Jackson or Mahomes threw an interception). Batlimore went 5 of 13 on third downs at Arrowhead (they were 3 for 4 on fourth down) and the Ravens actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:44, while the Chiefs held the pigskin for 27:16, going 5 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Detroit gave Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles their second loss in a row after they left the City of Brotherly Love 27-24 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Detroit led 20-10 at the break but Philadelphia managed to keep the contest close, pulling themselves to within seven with 6:59 left when Wentz and WR Nelson Agholor connected on a 2-yard TD pass. Philadelphia would later get the ball back with 1:39 left to play in hopes of tying the contest up but the drive ended when the Eagles were flagged for offensive pass interference and Wentz’s fourth down pass attempt to WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was broken up, ending the Eagles’ hopes of a win at home.

Detroit was out-rushed by Philadelphia 127-86, with Wentz throwing for 259 yards, three sacks and a pair of TDs (both to Agholor), while Stafford threw for 201 yards and a TD (neith threw an interception). Philadelphia was 7 of 13 on third down tries in the City of Brotherly Love (they were 0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:18, while the Lions kept the pigskin for 27:42 and went 6 for 14 on third down tries.

The Chiefs lead the series 8-5 (which includes contests that were played at Swope Field in Kansas City and the Silverdome in Pontiac) and have outscored the Lions 323-293. Their last meeting was in London in 2015 and the —Chiefs were 45-10 winners (Kansas City’s last win in the United States came in 2003 at Arrowhead by a final of 45-17), while Detroit’s last win came in the Motor City in 2011, coming away 48-3 winners. The Chiefs may be the road team but the odds makers like them as 6 1/2 point favorites and the over/under’s 53 1/2. One of these teams could make the post-season and it’s possible that both could be in as well. Right now, there’s only one winner. Detroit will make things closer than the 6 1/2 but the Chiefs stay unbeaten in the 2019 campaign.

Carolina (1-2) at Houston (2-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. The Carolina Panthers, who will be without Cam Newton (broken foot) travel to the Lone Star State for a showdown with the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Both teams won huge road games in last week’s action.

The Panthers erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit at Arizona, taking a 14-10 lead with them to the intermission and coming away 38-20 winners over the Cardinals last Sunday. Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen connected with TE Greg Olson on two TD passes in the desert as Carolina outscored the Desert Angry Birds 24-10 in the second half. Carolina out-rushed the Cardinals 173-121 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading the way with 153 yards and a TD, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray led his team with 69 yards of rushing. Allen threw for 261 yards and four TDs (including the two Olson catches), while Murray threw for 173 yards with two TDs (Allen was sacked twice but did not throw an interception, while Murray was sacked eight times with two picks). Arizona went 9 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:44, while the Panthers kept the pigskin for 28:16, going 4 of 10 on third down.

The Texans erased a 17-7 intermission deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park, holding off Philip Rivers and the Chargers 27-20. Houston got a pair of TD passes from DeShaun Watson to TE Jordan Akins to take a 27-17 lead with 9:40 left in the contest. The Chargers’ Ty Long would put his club to within three with 7:14 left with a 43-yard field goal and that would be as close as the Chargers would get, as the Texans would hold them off in the final seconds to take the road win. While the Chargers did out-rush Houston 73-39, Watson threw for 351 yards and three TDs (including the two to Akins) and was sacked twice, while Rivers threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs to Keenan Allen (Rivers was sacked five times, neither man threw an interception). Houston went 6 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:12, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:48, going 5 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

They’ve met four times and each team has two wins to their credit. Carolina has outscored Houston 83-78 and came away 24-17 winners in their last meeting in Charlotte in 2015, while the Texans’ last win in the series came in 2007 in the Tar Heel State by a final of 34-21. The Texans are favored by 4 1/2 and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Carolina, you have a problem. Houston covers the 4 1/2 and wins in the Lone Star State.

Oakland (1-2) at Indianapolis (2-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Silver and Black plays their second game in the great indoors as they travel to the Hoosier State to face off against the Indianpolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Oakland found themselves being taken to task by Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday in the Twin Cites, coming out on the losing end by a final of 34-14 at US Bank Stadium. The Raiders, dropping their second contest in a row, trailed 21-7 at the half and could never really get on track, as Minnesota would proceed to outscore them 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Delvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a TD as the Vikings out-rushed Oakland 211-88 and Cousins threw for 174 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen, while Derek Carr threw for 242 yards with a pair of TDs, four sacks and an interception (Cousins was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Oakland was 3 of 11 on third down (the Raiders were 2 of 3 on fourth down) and the Silver and Black kept the ball for 28:28, while Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:32, going 5 of 9 on third down.

The Colts held off a late Atlanta rally in the final quarter and came away 27-24 winners over the Falcons at Indianapolis last Sunday. The Colts took a 20-6 lead at the half, then watched Atlanta outscore the Colts 21-7 in the final 30 minutes of play in the Hoosier State, pulling themselves to within 7 with 4:11 when Ryan and All-Pro WR Julio Jones connected on a 10-yard TD toss. The Colts would then get the ball back on the kickoff and run out the clock to take the win at Lucas Oil Stadium. Atlanta out-rushed the Colts 93-88 and Davonta Freeman led all rushers with 88 yards. Ryan threw for 304 yards and three TDs (two to TE Austih Hooper) with an interception but no sacks, while the Colts’ Jacoby Brissett threw for 310 yards and a pair of TDs with a sack (Marlon Mack led the Colts with 74 rushing yards and a TD). Atlanta was 8 of 10 on third down and the Falcons would keep the ball for 28:37, while the Colts ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 31:23, going 5 of 8 on third down.

Including games in Baltimore and Los Angeles, the Raiders hold an 8-7 lead in the series and have outscored the Colts 363-356. The Colts and Raiders met last year on the West Coast and the Colts would come away 42-28 winners (Oakland’s last win in the series came in 2016 on the West Coast by a final of 33-25)

Their week eight meet at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Colts trailed 14-13 at the intermission, then proceeded to take control of things in the second half by outscoring Oakland 29-14 the rest of the way, using 21 of those points in the final quarter thanks to a pair of Marlon Mack rushing TDs, the second coming with 2:55 left in the contest to seal Oakland’s fate. Mack ran for 132 yards with the two scores, as the Colts rushed for 222 yards and Oakland tallied 103 in the loss. Andrew Luck threw for 239 yards, while Derek Carr tallied 244 yards in the air (each threw three TDs and no sacks or interceptions). The Colts were 9 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 36:30, while the Raiders were 4 for 8 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and held on to the ball for 23:30.

Indianapolis, favored by 3 in the week eight contest, covered as they would win by 14 and both clubs covered the 49 over/under by tallying 70 points. Indy’s favored by a touchdown in the Hoosier State and the over/under’s 44 1/2. This one doesn’t have a lot of “Wow” factor but it will be somewhat entertaining to watch. Oakland will make this closer than the 7 but the Colts ride off with the win in the Hoosier State.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) at Miami (0-3), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. A pair of AFC foes looking to right their ships meet in the Sunshine State at winless Miami hosts the Los Angeles Chargers in an early afternoon (morning on the West Coast) contest. Both teams took losses in their contests last week.

The Bolts, who got RB Melvin Gordon back on the team this week, watched Houston erase a 17-7 intermission deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park last Sunday, holding off Philip Rivers and the Chargers 27-20. Houston got a pair of TD passes from DeShaun Watson to TE Jordan Akins to take a 27-17 lead with 9:40 left in the contest. The Chargers’ Ty Long would put his club to within three with 7:14 left with a 43-yard field goal and that would be as close as the Chargers would get, as the Texans would hold them off in the final seconds to take the road win. While the Chargers did out-rush Houston 73-39, Watson threw for 351 yards and three TDs (including the two to Akins) and was sacked twice, while Rivers threw for 318 yards and a pair of TDs to Keenan Allen (Rivers was sacked five times, neither man threw an interception). Houston went 6 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 28:12, while the Chargers actually ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:48, going 5 of 15 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Dallas held Miami to a pair of first-half field goals at AT&T Stadium last Sunday, as they took care of the Dolphins 31-6. Dallas led 10-6 at the half, then proceeded to take control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, shutting out Miami in the second half by scoring the last 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Ezekiel Elliott (125) and rookie RB Tony Pollard (103 yards, TD) led the Cowboys as Dallas out-rushed Miami 235-72 and Prescott threw for 246 yards and a pair of TDs to Amari Cooper (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 200 yards but was sacked three times. Dallas was 5 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:56, while the Dolphins were 3 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:04.

Including games played in San Diego and the Orange Bowl, Miami leads the series 16-13, the ‘Fins have outscored the Chargers 646-645 and have won the last two meetings in the series, the last coming in Los Angeles in 2017 by a final of 19-17, while Los Angeles’ last win came in San Diego in 2015, with the Chargers 30-14 victors. The Chargers are favored by 15 1/2 and the over/under’s 44. Granted, Miami’s bad but not 15 1/2 bad. While the Chargers win this one in the Sunshine State, expect Miami to make it hard for the Chargers to cover.

Washington (0-3) at New York Giants (1-2), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. New QBs, same rivalry. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey as the Giants host the Washington Redskins at Met Life Stadium. The Giants picked up their first win last week on the road in the Sunshine State, while the Redskins are looking to secure their first win in the 2019 campaign.

Washington proved to be no match for Chicago at Fed Ex Field and Chicago took care of the Redskins 31-15 Monday night in Landover. Chicago led 28-3 at the break and was never challenged by Washington in the prime-time contest. Da Bears out-rushed Washington 90-69 and Bears safety Clinton Ha-Ha Dix burned his team with an interception return for a TD to open the scoring. Trubisky threw for 231 yards and three TD passes to WR Taylor Gabriel with three sacks and an interception, while Case Keenum threw for 332 yards and a pair of TDs, tallying four sacks and three interceptions in the contest. Chicago was 8 of 13 on third down tries in Landover and kept the ball for 31:36, while Washington, who held on to the ball for 28:24, went 3 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

The Giants, with rookie QB Daniel Jones under center after Eli Manning was benched, rallied his club from a 28-10 deficit at halftime to come away with the 32-31 win over Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Big Blue would out-score Tampa Bay 22-3 in the final 30 minutes of play and Jones scored the game-winning TD with 76 seconds left in regulation. Jones threw for 336 yards and a TD to WR Sterling Shepherd as well as the game-winning rushing score, while Winston threw for 380 yards and three TDs to Mike Evans (Evans had eight catches for 190 yards; Jones was sacked five times, Winston was sacked four and threw an interception) and the Bucs out-rushed Big Blue 144-72. The Giants were 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:48, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:12, going 4 of 14 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

Includings games played in Boston, when the Redskins were known as the Boston Braves and the Giants played their home games at Yankee Stadium and the Yale Bowl, the Giants lead the series 100-68-4 and Big Blue has outscored Washington 3,487-3,081. The two clubs split last year’s series, each winning on the other’s field.

The first meeting? Week eight in the Meadowlands and Washington left Met Life Stadium with a 20-13 win over Eli and the Giants. Washington led 7-3 at the intermission and controled things in the second half, outscoring the Giants 13-10 in the second half. New York would make the contest a 7-point affair with 17 seconds left when Manning and TE Evan Engram connected on a 2-yard TD toss. The Giants would then try an onside kick, which Washington recovered and the Redskins went on to run out the clock in the Meadowlands and take the win. Washington rushed for 182 yards, with RB Adrian Peterson leading everyone with 149 yards and a TD, holding the Giants to 37. Mamming threw for 316 yards and the Engram TD but was sacked seven times and picked off twice, while Redskins QB Alex Smith threw for 176 and a TD to Peterson (Smith was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Washington went 6 of 16 on third down and held the ball for 33:38; the Giants would keep the pigskin for 26:22 and went 2 of 14 and 3 of 4 on third and fourth downs.

The Giants would get revenge in Landover in week 14, taking a 40-16 win at Fed Ex Field. Eli and the Giants led 34-0 at the intermission, then led 40-0 at the end of three quarters before the Redskins would score all 16 of their points in the contest unchallenged. Manning (197 yards) threw three TDs in the contest with a pair of sacks but no interceptions, as the Giants out-rushed Washington 227-87, with Sequan Barkley leading all rushers with 170 yards and a TD. Washington’s Mark Sanchez threw for 38 yards with five sacks and a pair of interceptions before giving way to Josh Johnson, who threw for 195 yards and a TD. The Giants were 4 of 13 on third down tries in Landover and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 30:09, while the Redskins held on to the ball for 29:51, going 2 of 11 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week eight contest in upstate New Jersey, Washington was favored by 1 and covered the spread, winning by 7. Both teams missed the 42 over/under, tallying 33 points. The Giants not only won the week 14 rematch in Landover, they covered the 1 1/2-point spread, winning by 24 and this time, both clubs covered the over/under (42 1/2), tallying 56 points. The Giants are favored by 3 in the Meadowlands and the over/under’s 47 1/2. Redskins fans want to sing “Hail to the Redskins,” instead of “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” this week. The Giants are going to delay that a week. Giants cover the 3 and takes the win in upstate New Jersey.

Seattle (2-1) at Arizona (0-2-1), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. A pair of NFC West rivals meet in the desert as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks face off against Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Both teams lost at home last week and are looking to catch the first-place Los Angeles Rams in the division.

Seattle fell behind the Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest and lost 33-27 at Century Link Field. The Seahawks trailed 20-7 at the break but managed to outscore New Orleans 20-13 in the second half. Seattle managed to out-rush the Saints 109-88, even though Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards and a TD. Wilson threw for 406 yards and a pair of TDs, including a toss to TE Will Dissly as time expired, while Teddy Bridgewater, taking over for Brees, threw for 177 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Kamara). Seattle went 5 of 14 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:33, while the Saints kept the ball for 28:27, going 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Arizona watched Carolina erase a 7-0 first quarter deficit in Glendale, then trailed 14-10 at the intermission to lose to the Panthers 38-20 last Sunday. Panthers backup QB Kyle Allen connected with TE Greg Olson on two TD passes in the desert as Carolina outscored the Desert Angry Birds 24-10 in the second half. Carolina out-rushed the Cardinals 173-121 with Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey leading the way with 153 yards and a TD, while Arizona QB Kyler Murray led his team with 69 yards of rushing. Allen threw for 261 yards and four TDs (including the two Olson catches), while Murray threw for 173 yards with two TDs (Allen was sacked twice but did not throw an interception, while Murray was sacked eight times with two picks). Arizona went 9 of 17 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 31:44, while the Panthers kept the pigskin for 28:16, going 4 of 10 on third down.

While Arizona leads the series 20-19-1, the Seahawks have actually outscored the Desert Angry Birds 996-774 and have won three of their last four meetings, including sweeping the series last year (Arizona’s last win came in 2017, when the Desert Angry Birds came away with a 26-24 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks).

Their first meeting took place in week four in Glendale at State Farm Stadium. Seattle erased a 10-7 deficit at the break in the desert, then broke a 17-17 tie in the final seconds and came away 20-17 winners. The Seahawks took a 17-10 lead with them into the final 15 minutes of action before the Desert Angry Birds would tie the contest with 8:59 left in regulation when Josh Rosen and WR Chad Williams connected on a 22-yard TD pass. Arizona could have taken the lead for themselves with 1:55 left but Pat Dawson’s 45-yard field goal missed wide right, giving Seattle the ball with 1:50 left. The Seahawks would then use a 7-play, 31-yard drive that used all of the 1:50 and sent Cardinals fans home sad when Sebastian Janikowski split the uprights with a 52-yard field goal as time expired.

Seattle out-rushed Arizona 171-92 (Seattle’s Mike Davis led all rushers with 101 yards and a pair of TDs) and Wilson threw for 172 yards; while Wilson did not throw a TD, he was sacked twice and Rosen threw for 180 yards with one sack and the lone TD toss (neither threw an interception). Seattle struggled on third down tries in the desert (0 of 10) but found some success on fourth down, going 1 of 2 and kept the ball for 31:46, including the final 1:50 of the contest. As for Arizona? They were 5 of 12 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:14.

Seattle put Janikowski’s leg to good use in the rematach in week 17 and as was the case in the first meeting, the second contest went down to the wire at Century Link Field and once again it was Seattle that would prevail with the 27-24 win over the Cardinals. Seattle led 14-13 at the break in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks and had a 21-13 lead with 11 seconds left in the third quarter when Arizona LB Dennis Gardeck blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone to tie the contest up at 21-21 (Arizona would go for a two-conversion and was successful in the attempt). Janikowski and Zane Gonzalez would trade field goals in the fourth quarter before the Seahawks got the ball back with 1:49 left in regulation. Seattle would use all of that 1:49, taking an 8-play, 60-yard drive down the field, where Janikowski would connect on a 33-yard field goal as the clock struck :00.

As was the case in the first meeting, Seattle out-rushed Arizona, this time tallying 182 yards to the Cardinals’ 85 and Wilson threw for 152 yards with a TD to Tyler Lockett with a, interception, while Rosen accounted for 149 yards and no interceptions (each was sacked six times). Seattle again struggled on third down tries in the Pacific Northwest, going 4 of 14 and kept the ball for 29:09, including the final 1:49, while Arizona ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:51, going 4 of 17 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Seattle, the favorite on the road, covered the 3-point spread in the week four contest in Glendale but both clubs missed the 39 over/under by 2 points. The Seahawks were favored again in the week 17 contest at home, this time by 13 1/2. Once again, the Seahawks would win by three but this time, both teams covered the over/under of 38 1/2 by tallying 51 ponts. Seattle’s favored by 5 and the over/under’s 48. Both teams want to catch and pass the Rams to be on top of the NFC West mountain. Seahawks win in the desert and cover the 5.

Tampa Bay (1-2) at Los Angeles Rams (3-0), 4:05 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. The Rams returns to the West Coast for a late afternoon (Eastern time) contest with Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Coliseum.

Winston and Tampa Bay let a 28-10 lead at the half against the New York Giants get away from them as Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones went under center and led his club to a 32-31 win over the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Big Blue would out-score Tampa Bay 22-3 in the final 30 minutes of play and Jones scored the game-winning TD with 76 seconds left in regulation. Jones threw for 336 yards and a TD to WR Sterling Shepherd as well as the game-winning rushing score, while Winston threw for 380 yards and three TDs to Mike Evans (Evans had eight catches for 190 yards; Jones was sacked five times, Winston was sacked four and threw an interception) and the Bucs out-rushed Big Blue 144-72. The Giants were 6 of 13 on third down tries and kept the ball for 26:48, while Tampa Bay ruled the clock and kept the ball for 33:12, going 4 of 14 on third down tries (both clubs were 1 of 1 on fourth down).

The defending NFC champs kept their unbeaten streak in tact last Sunday night along the shores of Lake Erie as they held off a late Cleveland rally and beat the Rams 20-13 at First Energy Stadium. Jared Goff and the Rams trailed 6-3 at the intermission before Goff connected on a pair of TD passes to Cooper Kupp, the second one giving Los Angeles the lead back for keeps with 12:48 left in the contest. Greg Zuerlein would then add a 37-yard field goal to push the lead to a 3-point margin and the Rams stopped Baker Mayfield inside their 10-yard line as four of Mayfield’s passes fell incomplete in the final seconds of the contest.

Cleveland out-rushed Los Angeles 95-90 with Browns RB Nick Chubb leading all rusher with 96 yards, while former Georgia teammate Todd Gurley leading Los Angeles with 48. Goff threw for 268 yards with the two Kupp TDs (he was sacked twice and picked off twice), while Mayfield threw for 195 yards with a TD, three sacks and an interception. The Rams in the Sunday night contest along the shores of Lake Erie went 6 of 14 on third down and held the ball for 28:23. As for the Browns? They were 6 of 16 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down but ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:37.

Including contests in St. Louis and Anaheim, the Rams lead the series 14-8, they have out-scored the Buccaneers 530-451 and have won the last five meetings, including a 37-32 win in the Sunshine State in 2016, while Tampa Bay’s last win came in Tampa Bay by a final of 18-17 in 2010. The Rams find themselves as 9 1/2 popint favorites on the West Coast and the over/under’s 49. Tampa Bay’s good… the Rams are a little better. The Buccaneers are going to make this one closer than 9 1/2 but the Rams remain among the unbeaten and takes the win at home.

Minnesota (2-1) at Chicago (2-1), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. They meet again and round one is in the Windy City. Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears host Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field in a late-afternoon match along the shores of Lake Michigan between NFC North rivals.

Cousins and Minnesota took care of Oakland last Sunday in the Twin Cites, taking a 34-14 win over the Silver and Black at US Bank Stadium. The Vikings led 21-7 at the half and could never really get on track, as Minnesota would proceed to outscore them 13-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. Delvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a TD as the Vikings out-rushed Oakland 211-88 and Cousins threw for 174 yards with a TD to WR Adam Thielen, while Derek Carr threw for 242 yards with a pair of TDs, four sacks and an interception (Cousins was not sacked and did not throw an interception). Oakland was 3 of 11 on third down (the Raiders were 2 of 3 on fourth down) and the Silver and Black kept the ball for 28:28, while Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:32, going 5 of 9 on third down.

Washington proved to be no match for Da Bears, as Chicago went into Fed Ex Field and took care of the Redskins 31-15 Monday night in Landover. Chicago led 28-3 at the break and was never challenged by Washington in the prime-time contest. Da Bears out-rushed Washington 90-69 and Clinton Ha-Ha Dix burned his team with an interception return for a TD to open the scoring. Trubisky threw for 231 yards and three TD passes to WR Taylor Gabriel with three sacks and an interception, while Case Keenum threw for 332 yards and a pair of TDs, tallying four sacks and three interceptions in the contest. Chicago was 8 of 13 on third down tries in Landover and kept the ball for 31:36, while Washington, who held on to the ball for 28:24, went 3 of 9 on third down, 2 of 3 on fourth down.

Including contests that were played at Wrigley Field, Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington and the Metrodome, the Vikings lead the series 60-53-2 and have outscored Chicago 2,414-2,230. However… Da Bears have won the last two meetings, sweeping the series last year (Minnesota’s last win came in 2017 in the Twin Cities by a final of 23-10).

Chicago and Minnesota met in the Windy City in week 11 and Chicago took a 14-0 lead with them, then held off a late Minnesota rally at Soldier Field to come away 25-20 winners. Minnesota would out-score Da Bears 20-11 in the last 30 minutes of action, pulling themselves to within five with 48 seconds left when Cousins and WR Stefan Diggs connected on a 5-yard TD toss. Chicago, out-rushing Minnesota 148-22, recovered the onside kick and sealed the win for the home team. Trubisky threw for 165 yards and a TD with a sack, while Cousins threw for 262 yards with two TDs and two sacks (both Trubisky and Cousins threw two interceptions). Chicago went 6 of 12 on third down and held the ball for 34:29, while the Vikings kept the ball for 25:31, going 5 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

They met again in the Twin Cities in week 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium and for Chicago, second verse same as the first. Da Bears took a 13-3 lead with them to the break and left the Land of 10,000 Lakes 24-10 winners. Bears RB Juwan Howard accounted for Chicago’s first two TDs in the contest before the Vikings would pull themselves to within 7 with 1:51 left in the third when Cousins and Diggs connected on a 2-yard TD toss. Chicago would score 11 fourth quarter points unchallenged to seal the deal and the NFC North title. Howard rushed for 109 yards to go with the two TDs as Da Bears out-rushed Minnesota 169-63 and Trubisky threw for 163 yards with no interceptions or sacks, while Cousins threw for 132 yards with four sacks but no interceptions. Chicago went 8 of 14 on third down (Da Bears were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 37:08 to Minnesota’s 22:52 (the Vikings were a dismal 1 of 11 on third down, 1 of 4 on fourth down).

In the week 11 meeting along the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago was favored by 3 and won by 5, allowing them to cover the spread. The two clubs barely missed the over/under (they combined for 45 points) by 1/2 a point. Minnesota was favored by 5 in the week 17 contest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and Chicago covered, winning by 14. The 41 over/under was safe, as both teams combined for 34 points. Vegas likes Da Bears as 2 1/2 point favorites in the Windy City and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Both teams would like nothing more than to knock Green Bay out of first place in the NFC North but to do that, they would have to knock each other off. Someone’s going come away a little bloody and someone’s going to come out of this on top. The Monsters of the Midway take care of business in the Windy City Sunday afternoon and covers the 2 1/2.

Jacksonville (1-2) at Denver (0-3), 4:25 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 716. A pair of struggling AFC teams meet in the Mile High City as Denver hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

Jacksonville held Tennessee to a third quarter TD by RB Derrick Henry and came away against their AFC South rivals 20-7 last Thursday night. Jacksonville led 14-0 at the break, scoring both of those TDs in the first quarter, using TD passes from Gardner Minshew to TE James O’Shaughnessy to open the scoring in the contest and then a toss to WR J.J. Chark Jr. at TIAA Field. Tennessee did out-rush Jacksonville 91-88 in the Thursday night contest and Marcus Mariota threw for 304 yards but was sacked nine times, while Minshew threw for 204 yards with no sacks (neither threw an interception). Tennessee went 8 for 17 on third down and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 35:16, while Jacksonville kept the pigskin for 24:44, going 2 of 11 on third down (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down).

Denver watched Green Bay pick up their third win in a row, taking care of Joe Flacco and the Broncos 27-16 at Lambeau Field last Sunday afternoon. The Packers led 17-10 at the intermission, then proceeded to outpace Denver 10-6 in the last 30 minutes of play. While Denver out-rushed Green Bay 149-77 (Denver’s Phillip Lindsay led all rushers with 81 yards and a pair of TDs), Rodgers took care of Denver’s secondary, throwing for 235 yards with a TD and no sacks or interceptions, while Flacco threw for 213 yards with six sacks and an interception. Green Bay went 2 of 9 on third down and held on to the ball for 24:26, while Denver actually ruled the clock and held on to the pigskin for 35:34, going 8 of 15 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

The series? Even at 5-5. Denver has outscored Jacksonville 221-188 and has won the last two meetings, including taking a 20-10 win in the Sunshine State in 2016 (Jacksonville’s last win over Denver came in 2010 at home by a final of 24-17). Denver’s favored by 3 in the Mile High City and the over/under’s 37 1/2. Denver breaks their 3-game losing streak at home, taking the win in the Mile High City and covering the 3.

Dallas (3-0) at New Orleans (2-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Sunday action in week four concludes in the Big Easy as Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys make their way to New Orleans to face off against the Saints in a meeting of two teams, sitting in first place in their respective divisions.

Prescott and the Cowboys held Miami to a pair of first-half field goals at AT&T Stadium last Sunday, as they took care of the Dolphins 31-6. Dallas led 10-6 at the half, then proceeded to take control of things in the final 30 minutes of play, shutting out Miami in the second half by scoring the last 21 points of the contest unchallenged. Ezekiel Elliott (125) and rookie RB Tony Pollard (103 yards, TD) led the Cowboys as Dallas out-rushed Miami 235-72 and Prescott threw for 246 yards and a pair of TDs to Amari Cooper (Prescott was sacked once and threw an interception), while Miami’s Josh Rosen threw for 200 yards but was sacked three times. Dallas was 5 of 10 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:56, while the Dolphins were 3 of 15 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:04.

The Drew Brees-less New Orleans Saints took care of business last Sunday in the Pacific Northwest against Seattle, coming away 33-27 victors at Century Link Field. New Orleans led through the contest and had a 20-7 lead at the break before the Seahawks managed to outscore New Orleans 20-13 in the second half. Seattle managed to out-rush the Saints 109-88, even though Saints RB Alvin Kamara led all rushers with 69 yards and a TD. Wilson threw for 406 yards and a pair of TDs, including a toss to TE Will Dissly as time expired, while Teddy Bridgewater, taking over for Brees, threw for 177 yards and a pair of TDs (one to Kamara). Seattle went 5 of 14 on third down (the Seahawks were 1 of 4 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 31:33, while the Saints kept the ball for 28:27, going 3 of 11 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Dallas leads the series 17-12, the Cowboys have out-scored the Saints 604-560 and they won last year’s contest in Arlington by a final of 13-10 (New Orleans’ last win came in 2015 in the Big Easy, as the Saints would need overtime to take a 26-20 win). They met in Arlington in week 13 and each team scored their points unchallenged. Dallas would take a 13-0 lead with them to the break before New Orleans would respond with their 10 points of the game unchallenged (the two clubs played a scoreless fourth quarter). Dallas outrushed the Saints 100-65 (Elliott led all rushers with 76 yards and a passing TD), while Prescott threw for 248 yards (Brees threw for 127 yards with a TD but was sacked twice and picked off once) in the win. Dallas went 7 of 14 on third down tries at AT&T Stadium and kept the ball for 36:53 in the 3-point home win, while the Saints kept the ball for 23:07, while going 3 of 11 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week 13 contest in the Lone Star State on the Thursday night after Thanksgiving, New Orleans was favored by 7 1/2 and while Dallas did win, they only won by 3 and neither team touched the 52 1/2 over/under, tallying only 23 points. Dallas is favored in the Big Easy by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 47. Dallas would like nothing more than to go 4-0 to start the season, while New Orleans wants to end Dallas’ 3-game win streak. Sorry, Saints fans. Dallas covers the 2 1/2 and wins in the Big Easy.

Cincinnati (0-3) at Pittsburgh (0-3), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Forget the records. These AFC North rivals DON’T like each other. Don’t expect any Facebook friend requests and don’t except them to follow each other on Twitter. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh close out the action in week four as the AFC North rivals meet at Heinz Field. Both lost on the road last week and both are searching for their first win of the 2019 campaign.

A late Cincinnati rally fell short in Orchard Park as the Bengals fell to Buffalo 21-17 at New Era Stadium last Sunday. The Bills led 14-0 at the intermission in upstate New York, then watched the Bengals outscore Buffalo 17-7 in the final 30 minutes of play to make the contest closer than Bills fans would like. Buffalo ran for 175 yards, holding the Bengals to 67 yards (Bills RB Frank Gore led all rushers with 76 yards and a TD), while Josh Allen threw for 243 yards for the Bills with an interception (Andy Dalton threw for 249 yards and two interceptions and a pair of sacks; both Dalton and Allen threw a TD in the contest). The Bengals, who turned the ball over three times in upstate New York, went 3 for 11 on third down conversions and held on to the ball for 23:06, while Buffalo ruled the clock and circled their wagons around the ball, keeping it for 36:54 and went 5 of 13 on third down tries.

Pittsburgh let a 6-3 lead at the intermission at San Francisco get away from them as the 49ers with WR Dante Pettis and QB Jimmy Garoppolo connected on a 5-yard TD toss with 75 seconds left in their contest at Levis’ Stadium, coming away 24-20 victors over the Steelers. Chris Boswell put the Steelers on the board with a pair of first quarter field goals before San Francisco’s Robbie Gould narrowed the gap to three in the second. The Steelers would lead 20-17 late in the contest before San Francisco went on a 7-play, 24-yard drive that used 4:14 of clock and ended with Pettis and Garoppolo connecting on the game-winning score.

San Francisco out-rushed Pittsburgh 168-79 and rookie QB Mason Rudolph, taking over for the injured Ben Roethlisberger, threw for 174 yards and a pair of TDs (one to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster) and was sacked twice with an interception, while Garoppolo threw for 277 yards and the game-winning TD, adding a sack and a pair of interceptions to his tally. Pittsburgh turned the ball over twice (they forced five San Francisco turnovers) and went 3 of 12 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 23:43, while the 49ers held on to the pig skin for 36:17, going 6 for 11 on third down tries.

The Steelers lead the series 62-35, Pittsburgh has outscored the Bengals 2,144-1,707 and the Steelers have won the last seven contests, including sweeping last year’s series (Cincinnati’s last win over Pittsburgh came in the Steel City in 2015 by a final of 16-10).

Their first meeting? Week six in Cincinnati and the Steelers rallied in the final seconds of their contest along the shores of the Ohio River and came out on top 28-21. Tied 14-14 at the half, the Steelers would take a late lead by 6 with 3:32 left in the game after Chris Boswell kicked his second field goal of the half. Cincinnati would taie the lead back with 78 seconds left when Joe Mixon scored on a 4-yard TD run. Pittsburgh, needing to rally, used a 7-play, 77-yard drive that took 68 seconds of clock and ended when Antonio Brown and Roethlisberger connected on a 31-yard TD toss with 10 seconds left. Pittssburgh then elected to go for two and made that plan a reality when Roethlisberger and WR JuJu Smith-Schuester connected on the two-point try. The Bengals then would get the ball back, getting as close as their own 38 yard, when Dalton’s desperation pass fell short.

Pittsburgh out-rushed the Bengals in the Queen City 112-62 (Steelers RB James Conner led all rushers with 111 yards and a pair of TDs) and Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards, while Dalton threw for 229 yards and a pair of TDs to Tyler Boyd with three sacks (neither threw an interception). Both teams did well on third down conversions in the first meeting; Pittsburgh was 8 of 14, Cincinnati was 6 of 12 and the Steelers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 34:56 to Cincinnati’s 25:04.

The Steelers made it a clean sweep of the series and as was the case in the first meeting, needed to rally from behind, coming away 16-13 winners at Heinz Field. With a potential playoff berth on the line, the Steelers trailed 10-3 at the half (they were scoreless after the first quarter), then took a 13-10 lead with 8:35 left in the contest when a 47-yard field goal by K Matt McCrane gave them the lead. That lead would not last very long as Bengals K Randy Bullock would even things back up with 6:17 left, booting a 32-yard field goal. Pittsburgh then used a 12-play, 58-yard drive that used 4:21 of clock and reclaimed the lead with McCrane kicking his second field goal of the half, this time from 35 yards out.

The Bengals would have one last chance to beat Pittsburgh and damage their playoff hopes as Jeff Driskell, who took over for Dalton, got his team as close as their 40-yard line, when his pass on fourth down fell incomplete, giving the Steelers the win. The win was too little too late for the Steelers, as the Ravens had beaten Cleveland in Baltimore as Steeler players and watched the game on the Heinz Field video screen. Mixon rushed for 105 yards as Cincinnati out-rushed Pittsburgh 125-65 and Roethlisberger threw for 287 yards with the TD, a sack and an interception, while Driskell threw for 95 yards with four sacks. Pittsburgh went 5 of 15 on third down (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 34:22, while the Bengals, who kept the ball for 25:38, went 3 of 12 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down.

In the week six contest, Cincinnati was favored by 2 1/2 and the Steelers covered, winning by 7. The two clubs tallied 49 points, missing the over/under by 4. In the season finale, the Steelers were favored by 14 1/2 but won by only 3 points and the 45 1/2 over/under was untouched, as both clubs combined for only 29 points.

Cincinnati on Monday night? 11-24 and the Bengals have lost their last four meetings in prime time (their last appearance was in 2017, their last win came in 2014). The Steelers have done a lot better, going 46-24 under the lights, winning their last six MNF contests (their last loss came in 2013). Pittsburgh’s favored by 4 and the over/under’s 44. You’re better off watching “Bob Hearts Abishola” this week. One losing streak will end, the other will continue. Steelers celebrate at Heinz and takes the win, covering the 4.

One week down. 16 to go.

The celebration continues.

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL100 Game of the Week. Each game will be a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a matchup of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL has designated the Cleveland-New York Jets matchup as the Week 2 NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK because Monday Night Football, now in its 50th season, began with a Browns-Jets contest – and an American cultural institution was born. With Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith in the booth, on September 21, 1970, Cleveland topped the Jets 31-21 at Municipal Stadium in the season-opener. Cleveland’s Homer Jones scored to open the second half on a 94-yard kickoff return and the Browns’ Billy Andrews intercepted Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath and scored on a 25-yard return to ice the game late in the fourth quarter. This week’s game will be the 781st in Monday Night Football history.

Rookies exploding onto the scene, flawless passer ratings, long-distance strikes and white-knuckle comebacks highlighted maybe the most thrilling Kickoff Weekend ever. What will the NFL do for an encore?

This week’s NFC Championship rematch could be a classic in the making. Fresh off a last-second victory to open 2019, Drew Brees and New Orleans travel to meet the Los Angels Rams, who defeated Carolina. It’s one of six rematches of last season’s playoff games on the NFL schedule. Head coaches Sean Payton and Sean McVay, two of the top offensive minds in the game, each saw their teams score 30 points in their victorious season openers. They weren’t alone in putting points on the scoreboard.

On the heels of the most prolific offensive season in its history, the NFL picked up where it left off. The league combined for 90 touchdowns, most ever on Kickoff Weekend (89 in 2002 and 2011). Teams also combined for 776 points, the third-highest total in league history for an opening week. Only the 791 points in Week 1 of 2012 and the 788 in 2002, when the NFL expanded to 32 teams, were higher. Baltimore led the way, heading to the halftime locker room with 42 points, the most by any team ever in a season-opening half. Kansas City and Tennessee also posted 40-plus points in their games, marking the first opening week ever in which three road teams scored 40-or-more points. And points most certainly weren’t the only common thread.

To recap Week 1 (ICYMI):

ROOKIE PASS-CATCHERS: Four rookies – Tennessee’s A.J. Brown (100), Baltimore’s Marquise Brown (147), Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson (131) and Washington’s TERRY McLAURIN (125) – posted 100-yard receiving games in their NFL debuts. It marked the first week ever in which more than two rookies recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts. Hockenson’s total broke the 59-year-old NFL record held by Monty Stickles (123) for a tight end in his debut. Marquise Brown, meanwhile, became the first player in NFL history with two touchdown receptions of at least 40 yards in his NFL debut.

UNPRECEDENTED PASSER RATINGS: Thirteen quarterbacks had a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts). That’s the most in any week in NFL history, breaking the record of 12 set in Week 3 of the 2017 season. Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Dallas’ DAK PRESCOTT became the first players to post the highest-attainable passer rating (158.3) in a season-opener (minimum of 20 attempts), with Jackson (22 years, 244 days) becoming the youngest player to finish any game with a 158.3 passer rating (minimum of 20 attempts).

EXPLOSIVE PLAYS: Overall, 15 offensive touchdowns covered at least 40 yards, an NFL record for Kickoff Weekend. The prior record was 14 in 1991. With two more Sunday, Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson (31) joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36) as the only players to record more than 30 touchdowns of 50-plus yards in NFL history.

CONTAGIOUS COMEBACKS: New Orleans scored twice in the final minute to deny Houston 30-28, in a Monday night opener for the ages. In NFL history among season-opening games, Saints kicker Wil Lutz (58 yards) recorded the longest game-winning field goal with no time remaining. Five triumphant clubs erased second-half deficits. Buffalo trailed 16-0 and won and Philadelphia trailed 17-0 before winning. The only other year in which multiple teams overcame deficits of at least 16 points to win their Week 1 games was 1999, when both Arizona and Dallas closed 21-point gaps to win on Kickoff Weekend. Also this past weekend, both Indianapolis and Arizona trailed 24-9 in the second half and sent their games to overtime.​

HOPE REMAINS IN ABUNDANCE: In 2018, seven teams opened 2-0. Only two – Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams – made the postseason.

Since 1990, when the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format, 144 of the 235 teams (61.3 percent) to start 2-0 have qualified for the postseason. Since 1978, when NFL teams began playing 16-game schedules and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, 195 of the 313 teams (62.3 percent) to start 2-0 advanced to the postseason. Of those 313 teams, only 128 (40.9 percent) won their division titles.

INTRA-CONFERENCE CLASHES: In addition to the Saints and Rams, two other Week 2 games feature match-ups of 1-0 teams. Earlier, at Lambeau Field, Green Bay with a win over Minnesota at 1 p.m. on FOX, can start the year with a 2-0 record in the NFC North, and start 2-0 overall for the first time since 2015. In Oakland, the Raiders can also jump to 2-0 in their division with a win over Kansas City at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs became the first player since Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 with at least 100 scrimmage yards and two rushing touchdowns in his NFL debut. Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has more passing yards (5,759) and passing touchdowns (53) than any player ever over his first 20 games. The Kansas City-Oakland game is one of seven division contests to dot the schedule.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY: After authoring an incredible comeback to defeat the New  York Jets last week, Buffalo returns to MetLife Stadium to meet the New York Giants. It’s the first time a road team has played at the same stadium in consecutive weeks since BALTIMORE did it Oct. 16-23, 2016, also at MetLife Stadium. Miami later this season will also travel to New York in consecutive weeks, Dec. 8-15.

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY: 11 quarterbacks have had a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) through 13 games in Week 1, tied with Week 13 of the 2004 season (11) and Week 12 of the 1995 season (11) for the second-most in any week since 1970. Only Week 3 of the 2017 season (12) had more quarterbacks record a passer rating of 115 or higher (minimum 10 attempts).

Four rookies – Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown (100 receiving yards), Baltimore wide receiver Marquise Brown (147), Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson (131) and Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin (125) – each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts on Kickoff Weekend.

It marks the first week in which three-or-more rookies have each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their debuts in NFL history.

With 131 receiving yards, Hockenson surpassed Monty Stickles (123 receiving yards on September 25, 1960) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his NFL debut in league history.

Baltimore defeated Miami 59-10 on Kickoff Weekend. Baltimore scored 42 points in the first half, the most by any team in the first half of a season-opening game in NFL history. The Ravens, who scored 47 points on Kickoff Weekend in 2018, are the fifth team in league annals and first since the 1967-68 Oakland Raiders to score at least 40 points in consecutive season-opening games.

Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 17 of 20 attempts for 324 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating in the victory. Jackson is the seventh quarterback in NFL history and first since Ben Roethlisberger (November 11, 2018) with at least 300 passing yards, five touchdowns and a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, in a single game in NFL history.

Baltimore rookie wide receiver Marquise Brownrecorded touchdowns of 47 and 83 yards on his first two catches in his NFL debut. Brown became the first player in NFL history with two touchdown receptions of at least 40 yards in his NFL debut and his 83-yard touchdown reception is the second-longest by a player in his NFL debut in the Super Bowl era, trailing only Rick Upchurch (90-yard touchdown reception on September 21, 1975).

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 378 yards and three touchdowns for a 143.2 passer rating in the Chiefs’ 40-26 win at Jacksonville.

Mahomes, who has 5,759 passing yards in 18 career games, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (5,613 passing yards) for the most passing yards by a player in his first 20 career games in NFL history. Mahomes’ 53 touchdown passes are also the most by any player in his first 20 career games.

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins had nine receptions for 198 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Watkins is the fourth player in NFL history to record at least 195 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions in a season-opening game, joining Frank Clarke (September 16, 1962), Irving Fryar (September 4, 1994) and Hugh Taylor (September 28, 1947).

Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 88 percent of his pass attempts (22 of 25), the highest completion percentage (minimum 15 attempts) by a quarterback in his NFL debut in league annals. Minshew completed his first 13 pass attempts, the longest streak to start a career among players who made their NFL debut over the past 40 seasons.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott completed 25 of 32 attempts for 405 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 158.3 rating in the Cowboys’ 35-17 victory against the New York Giants.

Prescott is the fourth quarterback to register a 158.3 passer rating, the highest attainable mark, on 30-or-more pass attempts in NFL history, joining Jared Goff (33 attempts on September 27, 2018), Ken O’Brien (32 attempts on November 2, 1986) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner (30 attempts on October 1, 2000).

The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS defeated Indianapolis 30-24 in overtime while Arizona and Detroit played to a 27-27 tie at State Farm Stadium on Kickoff Weekend. At least one game on Kickoff Weekend has gone to overtime in five of the past six seasons.

Sunday’s contest between the Cardinals and Lions marked the second consecutive season in which a game ended in a tie in Week 1 and the third tie overall on Kickoff Weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns tied on September 9, 2018, while the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos played to a 10-10 tie on September 19, 1971.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler totaled 154 scrimmage yards (96 receiving, 58 rushing) and three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing) in the victory. Ekeler is the first undrafted player to record at least 150 scrimmage yards, two receiving touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game since Dan Reeves (156 scrimmage yards, two receiving touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns) on November 5, 1967.

Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded eight catches for 113 yards and one touchdown, the 117th touchdown catch of his NFL career. He surpassed Antonio Gates (116 touchdown receptions) for the sixth-most in NFL history.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson had 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including 51-yard and 53-yard touchdown catches, in the Eagles’ 32-27 win against Washington. He has six career games of at least 100 receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six) for the most 100-yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

Jackson has 31 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (29) for the second-most in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36) has more in league annals.

Other notable performances from Sunday include:

Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey had 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns, along with 10 receptions for 81 yards, in the Panthers’ Week 1 loss against the Los Angeles Rams.

McCaffrey, who also had 125 rushing yards and 11 receptions in Week 12 of the 2018 season, is the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 120 rushing yards and 10 receptions in multiple games.

New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell totaled 92 scrimmage yards (60 rushing, 32 receiving) and a touchdown reception in the Jets’ Week 1 loss at home agaisnt Buffalo.

Bell, who has 8,088 scrimmage yards in 63 career games, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (64 games) to become the fastest player to reach 8,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK TWO

NO NEED TO PANIC: Since realignment in 2002, 126 of the 204 playoff teams (61.8 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including 10 teams last season, the most since 2002, and six division champions – Baltimore (AFC North), Chicago (NFC North), Dallas (NFC East), Houston (AFC South), New England (AFC East) and New Orleans (NFC South).​

Last season, Houston became the first team in NFL history to win nine consecutive games following an 0-3 start. They also were the first team to win its division after starting 0-3 since the San Diego Chargers in 1992.

A look at how playoff clubs in 2017 and 2018 began their seasons:

2017
Team (After 2 games, Playoff Result)
ATLANTA (2-0, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Buffalo (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Carolina (2-0, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Jacksonville (1-1, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Kansas City (2-0, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Los Angeles Rams (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Kansas City (2-0, Advanced to AFC Championship)
Los Angeles Chargers (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Los Angeles Rams (2-0, Advanced to Super Bowl LIII)
Philadelphia (1-1, Won Super Bowl LII)
Pittsburgh (2-0, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
Tennessee (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional)
2018​
Team (After 2 games, Playoff Result)
Baltimore (1-1, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Chicago (1-1, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)
Dallas (1-1, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Houston (0-2, Advanced to AFC Wild Card)
Indianapolis (1-1, Advanced to AFC Divisional
Minnesota (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
New England (1-1, Advanced to Super Bowl LII)
New Orleans (0-2, Advanced to Divisional)
New England (1-1, Won Super Bowl LIII)
New Orleans (1-1, Advanced to NFC Championship)
Philadelphia (1-1, Advanced to NFC Divisional)
Seattle (0-2, Advanced to NFC Wild Card)

LEADING OFF: Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut against Detroit on Kickoff Weekend.

With 300 passing yards on Sunday at Baltimore, Murray can join Cam Newton (2011) as the only players to pass for at least 300 yards in each of their first two career games in NFL history.

If Murray repeats his Week 1 performance by passing for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, he would become the first player in league history to pass for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in each of their first two career games.

JACK & DAK IN THE BOX: Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson passed for 324 yards and five touchdowns in Week 1, while Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns. They became the first players to record a 158.3 passer rating – the highest-attainable mark – in a season opener (min. 20 attempts) in NFL history. Jackson, at 22 years, 244 days-old, became the youngest player in NFL history with a perfect passer rating (min. 20 attempts).

If Jackson or Prescott pass for at least four touchdowns on Sunday, they would join Ryran Fitzpatrick (2018), Patrick Mahomes (2018) and Drew Bledsoe (1997) as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season.

The players to throw at least four touchdowns in each of their team’s first two games of a season in NFL history:

PLAYER – SEASON; TEAM (GAME 1 PASSING TDs/GAME 2 PASSING TDs)

Ryan Fitzpatrick – 2018; Tampa Bay (4/4)
Patrick Mahomes – 2018; Kansas City (4/6)
Drew Bledsoe – 1997; New England (4/4)
Lamar Jackson – 2019; Baltimore (5/???)
Dak Prescott – 2019; Dallas (4/???)

Additionally, dating back to Week 17 of 2018, Prescott has recorded at least 350 passing yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions in consecutive games. Prescott can become the first player to pass for at least 350 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in three consecutive games in NFL history.​​

Week 2 features two matchups between Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks as Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, faces off with Arizona’s Kyler, the 2018 Heisman winner, while Thursday night’s matchup featured Tampa Bay’s Jzmdix Winston (2013) and Carolina’s Cam Newton (2010). This marks the first time in which two games feature Heisman-winning starting quarterbacks in the same week in NFL history.

ROOKIE RECEIVERS: In Week 1, four rookies – Tennessee wide receiver A.J. Brown (100 receiving yards – selected in the second round, 51st overall, out of Mississippi), Baltimore wide receiver MARQUISE BROWN (147 – selected in the first round, 25th overall, out of Oklahoma), Detroit tight end T.J. Hockenson (131 – selected in the first round, 8th overall, out of Iowa) and Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin (125 – selected in the third round, 76th overall, out of Ohio State) – each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their NFL debuts. It marked the first week in which three-or-more rookies have each recorded at least 100 receiving yards in their debuts in NFL history.

With at least 100 receiving yards in Week 2, they would join WILL Will Fuller (2016), DeSean Jackson (2008) and Don Looney (1940) as the only players in NFL history to record at least 100 receiving yards in each of their first two career games.

The players to record at least 100 receiving yards in each of their first two career games:

PLAYER – SEASON (TEAM, GAME 1 REC. YARDS/GAME 2 REC. YARDS)
Will Fuller – 2016 (Houston, 107/104)
DeSean Jackson – 2008 (Philadelphia, 106/110)

Don Looney – 1940 (Philadelphia, 115/129)
A.J. Brown – 2019 (Tennessee, 100/???)
Marquise Brown – 2019 (Baltimore, 147/???)
T.J. Hockenson – 2019 (Detroit, 131/???)
Terry McLaurin – 2019 (Washington, 125/???)

Additionally, with two touchdown receptions on Sunday vs. Arizona, Marquise Brown can become the first player in NFL history to record at least two touchdown receptions in each of his first two career games.

SCHUSTER & LADDERS: Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has 2,421 career receiving yards and 14 receiving touchdowns in 31 career games.

Smith-Schuster, who will be 22 years and 297 days old on Sunday vs. Seattle, needs 79 receiving yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (22 years, 310 days) as the youngest player in NFL history to reach 2,500 career receiving yards. ​

The youngest players to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (AGE)
Randy Moss (HOF), Minnesota (22 years, 310 days)
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (23 years, 31 days)
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay (23 years, 35 days)
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland (23 years, 39 days)
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh (22 years, 297 days*)
*On Sunday

GET YOUR KITTLE CORN READY: San Francisco tight end George Kittle has 1,946 career receiving yards in 32 career games and set the NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end (1,377) in a single season in NFL history in 2018.

With 54 receiving yards on Sunday at Cincinnati, Kittle would tie Dave Kocourek (33 games) as the third-fastest tight end to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in NFL history. The only tight ends to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in fewer games o Pro Football Hall of Famers Mike Ditka (30 games) and Kellen Winslow Sr. (31 games). ​

The tight ends to reach 2,000 career receiving yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER, TEAM (GAMES TO REACH 2,000 REC. YARDS)
Mike Ditka (HOF), Chicago (30)
Kellen Winslow Sr. (HOF), San Diego (31)
Dave Kocourek, Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers (33)
Rob Gronkowski, New England (34)
Kellen Winslow Jr., Cleveland (34)
George Kittle, San Francisco (32)* (1,946 yards)
*Has 1,946 receiving yards in 32 career games

Week two got underway in Charlotte Thursday night as Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston edged out Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in a NFC South matchup featuring two former Heisman winners in a contest that was delayed by bad weather. The week comes to an end in upstate New Jersey as the New York Jets hosts Cleveland in primetime at 8 p,m. on ESPN. As for last week, 7-9 was not all that great but it was better than nothing. An NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint and as Chris Berman says “That’s why they play the games!” With that, here are the Sunday and Monday picks for week two.

Philadelphia (1-0) at ATLANTA (0-1), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. Cheese steak meets chicken and waffles as Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Big Peach to face off against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. While the Eagles come off a win at home against Washington last Sunday, the Falcons look to even their record after a loss on the road to Minnesota in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Philadelphia erased a 20-7 deficit at the half last Sunday against NFC East rival Washington and proceeded to outscore the Redskins 25-7 to come away 32-27 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Wentz threw for 313 yards and no interceptions, while the Eagles outrushed Washington 123-28, with Case Keenum throwing for 380 yards (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked once without an interception). Philadelphia went 11 of 17 on third down tries (the Eagles were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they would ruled the clock and keep the ball for 34:27, while the Redskins kept the ball for 25:33, going 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

The Falcons found themselves being shut out for three quarters at Minnesota in the season opener for both clubs, struggling and leaving the Twin Cities with the 28-12 loss. Atlanta trailed 21-0 at the break and could never really get on track until the final 15 minutes of play when Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones each TD passes from Ryan. Minnesota ran roughshod on Atlanta, outrushing the Falcons 172-73 (Minnesota’s Delvin Cook led all rushers with 111 yards and a rushing TD), while Ryan threw for 304 yards with the two TDs but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 98 yards with a TD toss to Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked once but did not throw an interception). While Atlanta was 2 for 8 on third down at US Bank Stadium, they struck gold on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 30:13, while the Vikings held the ball for 29:47, going 5 for 10 on third down tries.

Philadelphia leads the series 17-13-1, the Eagles have outscored Atlanta 670-574 and have come away with wins in the last two regular season meetings, including an 18-12 win last year in the City of Brotherly Love (Atlanta’s last win in the series came in the Big Peach by a final of 26-24 in the old Georgia Dome). The two clubs didn’t wait around long to meet as they faced off in the season opener on a Thursday night. Atlanta led 6-3 at the break before the Eagles, fresh off a Super Bowl victory over New England, would go on to outscore the Falcons 15-6 in the final 30 minutes of play, taking the lead for good with an 11-yard run by Joseph Ajayi and a two-point conversion by Ajayi with 2:19 left in regulation. Atlanta’s Tevin Coleman gave the Falcons the lead temporarily with 9:48 left in the contest before Ajayi scored his second TD of the night, sending Eagles fans home happy after Philadelphia held off a late Atlanta rally in the final seconds of the contest.

Philadelphia outrushed Atlanta 113-74 and Nick Foles, not Wentz, threw for 117 yards, while Ryan threw for 251 yards (Ryan was sacked four times, Foles was sacked twice, both threw an interception). Atlanta on third down tries went 4 of 15 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:50, while the Eagles ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 32:10, while going 50 percent on third down at 8 for 16.

In the week one meeting in the City of Brotherly Love, the Eagles were favored by 1 point and the over/under was a whopping 45. Philadelphia covered, winning by 6 but neither team covered the over/under, as the two clubs combined to score 30 points. In the Sunday night contest in the Deep South, Philadelphia’s a 1-point favorite again but this time the over/under’s 51. Aw, what the heck… let’s make this one “DRILL WORTHY!” (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Philadelphia looks to go 2-0. Atlanta looks to even their record and get revenge at home for the loss to the Eagles last year. Revenge is a dish best served cold, the saying goes and the Falcons will be feasting. Atlanta covers the 1 in the Big Peach and comes away with the Sunday night win.

Arizona (0-0-1) at Baltimore (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of young singal callers meet in Charm City as the Baltimore Ravens host the Arizona Cardinals in an early afternoon (early morning Phoenix time) kick off with number one round pick Kyler Murray facing off against Lamar Jackson at M&T Bank Stadium.

Arizona trailed Detroit 17-3 at the half (the two played a scoreless first quarter), then rallied to even things up with 43 seconds left when Murray and all-pro WR Larry Fitzgerald (8 catches for 113 yards) connected on a 4-yard TD toss, then went for two and found success as Murray and WR Christian Kirk connected on the two-point try to tie things up at 24-24. After the Cardinals held off a late Detroit rally that would have given the Lions the win in regulation, the two clubs went to overtime and Arizona won the toss, making their way down the field. The Desert Angry Birds would get themselves as close as Detroit’s 10-yard line, coming no closer as Zane Gonzalez connected on a 28-yard field goal in the overtime. Detroit and Matthew Stafford would get the ball back in the extra period and they would make their way down the field themselves, with Arizona stopping them at their 15-yard, forcing the Lions to use Matt Prater’s leg to re-tie the contest at 27-27. Arizona got the ball back, moving as far as the Lions’ 46-yard before they had to punt, giving Detroit the ball back with 59 seconds left. Detroit’s drive sputtered in their final chance to reclaim the lead and their drive got them only to their 10-yard line, ending the contest.

Detroit barely outrushed Arizona 116-112 and Murray threw for 308 yards with five sacks and an interception, while Stafford threw for 385 yards and three sacks (Murray threw a pair of TDs, including the TD that put the Desert Angry Birds to within two, while Stafford threw three TDs, one to WR Danny Amendola). The two clubs were a combined 15 for 40 on third down tries in the desert (Arizona was 9 of 22, Detroit was 6 of 18; the Lions were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and Detroit ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 39:23 to Arizona’s 30:37.

Baltimore manhandled Miami in the Sunshine State last Sunday, taking the Dolphins to task and the woodshed by a 59-10 final.
The Ravens led 42-10 at the half at Hard Rock Stadium and never looked back in the lopsided season opener and would score an additional 17 second-half points unchallenged. While rushing for 265 yards (Mark Ingram led the way with 107 yards and a pair of TDs), the Ravens held Miami to a dismal 21 yards. Jackson threw for 324 yards and five TDs, connecting with fellow rookie WR Marquise Brown on two of those tosses, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 185 yards and a TD with a pair of sacks and an interception. Baltimore was 7 for 11 on third down (the Ravens were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and held on to the pigskin for 40:07, while Miami was 3 for 10 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 19:53.

The Ravens hold a 4-2 lead in the series and Baltimore has outscored the Desert Angry Birds 126-117. Their last meeting was in 2015 in the desert and the Cardinals broke a three-game losing streak against Baltimore, taking a 26-18 win at State Farm Stadium. Baltimore’s last win in the series came in Charm City, as they would take a 30-27 win in 2011. Baltimore’s favored by 13 1/2 and the over/under’s 46 1/2. The 46 1/2 makes sense… the 13 1/2 has us scratching our heads. Baltimore is good but they’re not 13 1/2 good. Still, the Ravens prevail in Charm City and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers travel to the shores of the Ohio River as they face off against Andy Dalton and the Cinicnnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Both teams were on the road in their season openers, with San Francisco winning in the Sunshine State, while Cincinnati saw Seattle rally in the Pacific Northwest to fall by a point.

The 49ers trailed Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay 7-6 at the intermission at Raymond James Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Bucs 25-10 in the final 30 minutes of play to come away 31-17 in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay did outrush San Francisco 121-98 but turned the ball over four times in the loss. Winston threw for 121 yards and a TD but was picked off three times and sacked once, while Garoppolo threw for 166 yards with a TD and an interception. Tampa Bay was 5 of 11 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:56, while the 49ers ruled the clock and kept the ball for 30:04, while going 5 for 13 on third down conversions.

Cincinnati let a 17-14 halftime lead get away from them in Seattle as the Seahawks and Russell Wilson stormed back to take a 21-20 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Wilson, despite being sacked four times, threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dalton threw for 418 yards in the Pacific Northwest (Dalton also threw a pair of TDs; Dalton was sacked five times, while Wilson was sacked four times, neither man threw an interception). Neither club came close to the 100-yard rushing barrier but Seattle did outrush the Bengals 72-34 and Seattle, who forced three Bengals fumbles, went 4 of 12 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:10. Cincinnati actually ruled the clock in the loss, keeping the pigskin for 35:50 and went 6 of 15 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The 49ers hold a 9-4 lead in the series and San Francisco has outscored Cincinnati 286-255. Their last meeting took place in 2015 in San Francisco at old Candlestick Park by a final of 24-14, while the 49ers’ last win in the series came in Cincinnati by a 13-8 tally in 2011. Cincinnati’s favored by a point and the over/under’s 44 1/2. These two teams struggled to keep their heads above water last year and while they’re not exactly world beaters yet, this one might be worth your time. Bengals cover the 1 along the shores of the Ohio River and takes the win at home.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-0) at Detroit (0-0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Phililp Rivers vs. Matthew Stafford. A pair of future Hall of Fame qbs meet in the Motor City for an afternoon (early morning in Los Angeles) contest at Ford Field. Both teams played overtime contests last Sunday in their openers with the Chargers coming away winners at home, while the Lions fought for a tie in the desert.

Rivers and the Bolts led Indianapolis 17-6 at the intermisson at Dignity Health Sports Park, only to watch Jacoby Brissett and WR T.Y. Hilton connect on a 19-yard TD pass with 38 seconds left in regulation before RB Austin Ekeler scored on a 7-yard run with 5:01 left in the extra period to take a 30-24 win at home. Indianapolis outrushed the Chargers 203-125 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 174 yards and a TD of his own, while Ekeler ran for 58 yards and the OT game-winner. Rivers threw for 333 yards and three TDs with four sacks and an interception, while Jacoby Brissett threw for 190 yards and a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Chargers went 7 of 11 on third down tries on the West Coast and kept the ball for 32:50 (including the overtime), while the Colts kept the ball for 32:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

Detroit led Arizona 17-3 at the half (the two played a scoreless first quarter), then watched the Cardinals rally to take a 27-27 overtime tie in the desert. Arizona would even things up with 43 seconds left when rookie QB Kyler Murray and all-pro WR Larry Fitzgerald (8 catches for 113 yards) connected on a 4-yard TD toss, then went for two and found success as Murray and WR Christian Kirk connected on the two-point try to tie things up at 24-24. After the Cardinals held off a late Detroit rally that would have given the Lions the win in regulation, the two clubs went to overtime and Arizona won the toss, making their way down the field. The Desert Angry Birds would get themselves as close as Detroit’s 10-yard line, coming no closer as Zane Gonzalez connected on a 28-yard field goal in the overtime. Detroit and Matthew Stafford would get the ball back in the extra period and they would make their way down the field themselves, with Arizona stopping them at their 15-yard, forcing the Lions to use Matt Prater’s leg to re-tie the contest at 27-27. Arizona got the ball back, moving as far as the Lions’ 46-yard before they had to punt, giving Detroit the ball back with 59 seconds left. Detroit’s drive sputtered in their final chance to reclaim the lead and their drive got them only to their 10-yard line, ending the contest.

Detroit barely outrushed Arizona 116-112 and Murray threw for 308 yards with five sacks and an interception, while Stafford threw for 385 yards and three sacks (Murray threw a pair of TDs, including the TD that put the Desert Angry Birds to within two, while Stafford threw three TDs, one to WR Danny Amendola). The two clubs were a combined 15 for 40 on third down tries in the desert (Arizona was 9 of 22, Detroit was 6 of 18; the Lions were 0 for 1 on fourth down) and Detroit ruled the clock and held on to the ball for 39:23 to Arizona’s 30:37.

Including games that took place in San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 7-4 but the Lions have outscored the Bolts 250-244. Their last meeting? 2015 in San Diego and the Chargers and Rivers came away with the 33-28 win, while Detroit’s last win in the series came in the Motor City by a final of 38-10 in 2011. The Chargers find themselves being favored by 2 1/2 on the road and the over/under is 47 1/2. These teams would like nothing more than to not play another overtime game. Chargers cover the 2 1/2 and win in the Motor City.

Minnesota (1-0) at Green Bay (1-0), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 712. A pair of NFC North (or NFC Norris, as Chris Berman calls it) meet in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst as Green Bay hosts the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau. Both teams took wins in their openers last week.

Minnesota held Atlanta scoreless for three quarters at Minnesota in the season opener for both clubs, coming away 28-12 winners in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Minnesota led 21-0 at the break and Atlanta could never really get on track until the final 15 minutes of play when Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones each TD passes from Matt Ryan. Minnesota ran roughshod on Atlanta, outrushing the Falcons 172-73 (Minnesota’s Delvin Cook led all rushers with 111 yards and a rushing TD), while Ryan threw for 304 yards with the two TDs but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins threw for 98 yards with a TD toss to Adam Thielen (Cousins was sacked once but did not throw an interception). While Atlanta was 2 for 8 on third down at US Bank Stadium, they struck gold on fourth down, going 2 for 2 and actually ruled the clock, as they kept the ball for 30:13, while the Vikings held the ball for 29:47, going 5 for 10 on third down tries.

Green Bay won their season opener last Thursday night against Chicago at Soldier Field. After trailing 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Packers took a 7-3 lead with them to the locker room, added a 39-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, then held off a late Chicago rally to take a 10-3 win in the Windy City. The lone TD in the contest came when Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Graham connected on an 8-yard TD toss early in the second quarter after Chicago’s Eddy Pineiro opened the scoring in the contest with a 38-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The contest was nothing to write home about as far as rushing yardage was concerned and neither team breached the 50-yard mark, let alone the 100-yard mark. Green Bay barely outrushed Chicago 47-46 and Rodgers threw for 203 yards with the only TD in the contest, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 228 yards with an interception (both men were sacked five times). Green Bay was a dismal 2 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:03, while Chicago would keep the ball for 28:57, going 3 of 15 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Green Bay leads the series 59-53-3 and the Packers have outscored the Purple People Eaters 2,505-2,242. The Vikings have won three of the last four meetings in the series, tying in the land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst and taking a win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes in their last two contests. Green Bay’s last win over the Vikings? 2106 on the Frozen Tundra by a final of 38-25.

Meeting number one… Lambeau Field in week two. Rodgers and Green Bay led 20-7 after three quarters of play (the Packers led 17-7 at the intermission), only to watch the Vikings outscore them in the fourth quarter 22-9 to come away with the 29-29 overtime tie. Mason Crosby kicked five field goals for the Packers, only to watch the Vikings tie things up in regulation with 31 seconds left when Cousins and Thielen connected on a 22-yard TD toss to pull themselve to within two, then tied things up when Cousins and Stefan Diggs connected on a two-point conversion. The two clubs then proceeded to play scoreless football in the overtime. Green Bay outrushed Minnesota 98-68, Rodgers would throw for 281 yards and a TD (Rodgers was sacked four times), while Cousins threw for 425 yards and four TDs (he was sacked twice and threw an interception). Minnesota was 7 of 14 on third down conversions in upstate Wisconsin and kept the ball for 31:52, while Green Bay kept the pigskin for 38:08 and went 4 for 13 on third down.

First meeting in the books, right?

Second meeting… Minneapolis and US Bank Stadium in week 12 and while the second meeting was close, the Vikings prevailed at home by a final of 24-17. Green Bay and Minnesota played to a 17-17 tie at the half, then floored the gas in the second half, outscoring Green Bay 10-3 in the final 30 minutes to take the win. Minnesota outrushed Green Bay 91-82 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and Rodgers threw for 198 yards and a TD (four sacks), while Cousins threw for 342 yards and three TDs (connecting with Thielen and Diggs on two of the tosses with a pair of sacks; neither man threw an interception). Minnesota was 7 of 14 on third down conversions, while the Packers struggled, going 2 of 10 (both clubs were 0 for 1 on fourth down tries) and Minnesota ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 34:37 to Green Bay’s 25:23.

In the week two contest at Lambeau, Green Bay was favored by 2 but neither team covered the spread because of the tie but the 58 points that were scored were more than enough to cover the 46 over/under. In the second meeting in week 12 in the Twin Cities, the Vikings covered the 3 1/2 point spread, winning by 7 but came up short of the 48 over/under by 7. This time around, the Packers are favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under is 44 1/2. The winner will have first place all to themselves in the NFC North. Green Bay prevails in the land of cheese, beer and Bratwurst, covering the 2 1/2 at Lambeau.

Jacksonville (0-1) at Houston (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. A pair of winless AFC South rivals meet in the Lone Star State as J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans host Jacksonville at NRG Stadium. Both clubs look to break into the win column after losses in their season openers.

The Jaguars lost at home 40-26 to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field last Sunday. The Chiefs led 23-13 at the break, then proceeded to floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in the Sunshine State. Kansas City outrushed Jacksonville 113-81, with Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 81 yards. Mahomes threw for 378 yards with three TD tosses to WR Sammy Irvin without a sack or interception, while Jaguar rookie QB Gardner Minshew threw for 275 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked once and threw an interception. Both Kansas City and Jacksonville went 5 for 10 on third down conversions and the Chiefs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:15 to Jacksonville’s 28:45.

Houston looks to right its ship at home after they let a 14-3 halftime lead at New Orleans get away from them as the Saints opened their 2019 campaign with a 30-28 come-from-behind last-second win over the Texans Monday night in the Big Easy. After a scoreless first quarter, the Texans took the 11-point lead at the intermission thanks to a pair of TDs from DeAndre Hopkins and DeSean Watson. The Saints would go on to outscore Houston 27-14 in the last 30 minutes of action, with the game winner coming from K Wil Lutz as time expired. New Orelans set up the game winning drive, getting ball back with 37 seconds left and used a 6-play, 35-yard drive that used all of the 37 seconds remaining in regulation. Houston outrushed New Orleans 180-148 and Waston threw for 268 yards and three TDs with six sacks and an interception, while Drew Brees threw for 370 yards with a sack and an interception. Both teams did well on third down conversions in the Monday night contest (Houston was 7 of 13, the Texans were 1 of 1 on fourth down; New Orleans was 7 of 11) and New Orleans ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:13, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 29:47.

The Texans lead the series 21-13, have outscored the Jaguars 747-678 and swept last year’s two-game series (Jacksonville’s last win over Houston came in 2017 in the Sunshine State by a final of 45-7).

Meeting number one… Jacksonville in week seven and the Texans held the Jaguars to a third-quarter TD pass from Cody Keesler to T.Y. Hilton to take a 20-7 win at TIAA Bank Field. Houston led 13-0 at the intermission and was in control throughout the contest. Houston outrushed Jacksonville 141-70 with Texans RB Lamar Miller leading all rushers with 100 yards and a TD. Watson threw for 139 yards and a TD and a sack but did not throw an interception, while Keesler threw for 156 yards with the lone TD toss (Keesler was sacked four times and picked off once). Houston, forcing three Jacksonville turnovers in the Sunshine State, went 8 of 16 on third down and kept the ball for 29:35, while Jacksonville ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 30:25, going 9 of 19 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

The Texans completed the sweep in the second meeting, which took place in the Lone Star State in week 17. Houston had no problem with the Jaguars, holding Jacksonville to a Kai Forbath field goal in the first quarter and scored their 20 points unchallenged to take a 20-3 win in the season finale for both clubs. Watson and Miller accounted for both Texans TDs in the win that prepared them for the post-season. Houston held Jacksonville to 30 yards rushing and sacked Blake Bortles (107 yards) three times and picked him off once, while Watson threw for 234 yards, although he was sacked six times. The Texans were 6 of 17 on third down but were perfect on fourth down in their only try, keeping the ball for 35:07, while Jacksonville kept it for 24:53, going 3 of 13 on third down tries.

Jacksonville was favored by 4 1/2 points in the week seven contest in the Sunshine State and Houston covered, winning by 13. Neither club covered the 42 1/2 over/under, as both teams combined for 27 points. In the season finale in the Lone Star State, the Texans easily covered the 7-point spread, winning by 17 but as was the case in the first meeting, neither club covered the pver/under of 40 1/2, tallying only 23 points. Houston’s favored by 8 1/2 in the Lone Star State and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Houston takes this one at home but expect the Jaguars to make things closer than 8 1/2.

New England (1-0) at Miami (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. They meet again. A pair of AFC East rivals square off in Miami as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphis in Miami Shores.

The defending Super Bowl champs raised their sixth banner last Sunday night in Foxboro, then proceeeded to hold Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger (276 yards, interception, sack) to a Chris Boswell field goal in the third quarter as they manhandled the Steelers 33-3 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots led 20-0 at the break, then outscored their guests from the Steel City 13-3 in the last 30 minutes of action. New England rushed for 99 yards in the lopsided win, holding the Steelers to 32 yards on the ground and Brady threw for 341 yards and three TDs without an interception (he was sacked once). New England was 7 of 14 on third down conversions and held the ball for 32:33, while the Dolphins went 27:27 in possession time, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Miami in the Sunshine State last Sunday, found themselves being taken to task and the woodshed by a 59-10 final at home last Sunday against Baltimore. The Dolphins trailed 42-10 at the half at Hard Rock Stadium and never looked back in the lopsided season opener and would score an additional 17 second-half points unchallenged. While rushing for 265 yards (Mark Ingram led the way with 107 yards and a pair of TDs), the Ravens held Miami to a dismal 21 yards. Jackson threw for 324 yards and five TDs, connecting with fellow rookie WR Marquise Brown on two of those tosses, while Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 185 yards and a TD with a pair of sacks and an interception. Baltimore was 7 for 11 on third down (the Ravens were perfect on fourth down, going 2 of 2) and held on to the pigskin for 40:07, while Miami was 3 for 10 on third down, keeping the pigskin for 19:53.

Miami leads the series 54-50 and including games that were played in Boston’s Fenway Park and the Orange Bowl, the Dolphins have outscored New England 2,268-2,239. The two clubs split last season’s contests, with each team taking wins at home.

Meeting number one? Foxboro. Week four. Miami found themselves held to a fourth-quarter TD as the Patriots took care of Miami 38-7. Leading 24-0 at the half and 31-0 after three quarters, Brady and the Pats burned Miami for 274 yards and three TDs, despite throwing two interceptions (Ryan Tannehill threw for 100 yards with a sack and interception for Miami), while the Pats ran for 175 yards (New England’s Sony Michel led all rushers with 112 yards and a TD), holding Miami to 56 yards on the ground. New England went 10 of 15 on third down conversions in Foxboro and held on to the ball for 36:22, while the Dolphins were 3 for 11 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 23:38.

Round two… Miami in week 14 and the Dolphins would get some last-second revenge on Brady (358 yards, three TDs, two sacks) in the Sunshine State, erasing a 27-21 deficit at the intermission to come away 34-33 winners at Hard Rock Stadium. New England led by 6 at the break, then watched Miami chip away at the lead as the Dolphins used a 1-play, 69-yard drive that used all of the 16 seconds left in the contest with no time outs to come away with the win and send their fans home happy, thanks to a hook-and-ladder pass from Ryan Tannehill (265 yards, three TDs, 4 sacks) to DeVante Parker, who pitcher the ball to Kenyon Drake, who took it 52 yards into the end zone for the game winner. Miami outrushed New England 189-77 with Frank Gore leading the way with 92 yards on the ground. New England was 9 of 16 on third down tries and held the ball for 35:14, while Miami kept the pigskin for 24:46, including the final 16 seconds of the contest, going 1 of 7 on third down.

In the week four contest in Foxboro, New England easily covered the 7-point spread, winning by 31 but both clubs missed the 47 1/2 over/under, scoring 45 points. In the rematch in the Sunshine State, New England was favored again, this time by 8 1/2 but Miami won by a single point. Both clubs did cover the 47 1/2 over/under with 67 points. The odds makers in Vegas have made New England a 19-point road favorite with a 47 1/2 over/under. The 47 1/2 is reasonable. 19 points? Seriously? The Dolphins were a bad team last week but they’re not 19 points bad. History does have a strange way of repeating itself and while Miami’s not going to cover the 19, they will take the win in the Sunshine State.

Buffalo (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. The Bills spend another week in upstate New Jersey as they square off against Eli Manning and the New York Football Giants at Met Life Stadium. The Bills come off a huge win over the Jets in their season opener, while the Giants return home from a loss against NFC East foe Dallas.

Buffalo erased a 16-3 deficit after three quarters of play (they trailed 6-0 at the half) and scored 14 fourth quarter points against Sam Darnold (175 yards, TD, four sacks) and the New York Jets unchallenged to escape Met Life Stadium with a 17-16 win. Bills QB Josh Allen (254 yards) used his arm and legs in the final 15 minutes of action, rushing for a 1-yard score early in the fourth and then connecting with WR Josh Brown with three minutes left in regulation to take the win. Buffalo outrushed the Jets 128-68, with Bills rookie RB Devin Singletary leading all rushers with 70. Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while the Jets were 32:01 in time of possession, going 7 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Manning (306 yards, sack) and TE Evan Engram gave the Giants the early lead against Dallas and Dak Prescott (405 yards, four TDs) only to see that lead get away from them as the Cowboys scored 21 points in the first half unchallenged, losing on the road 35-17. Dallas took that 21-7 lead with them to the locker room and kept the Giants in check in the second half. New York did outrush Dallas 151-75 and Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 120 yards for the Giants at AT&T Stadium. The Giants were 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:42, while Dallas ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:18, while going 6 of 10 on third down.

The series is all even at 6-6 and the Bills have outscored the Giants 220-219. However… Big Blue has won the last three meetings, including a 24-10 in 2015 in upstate New York, while Buffalo’s last win came in 2003 in the Meadowlands by a final of 24-7. The Bills are favored by 2 and the over/under’s 43 1/2. Giants avenge their Met Life Stadium neighors and pull the upset over the Bills, covering the 2.

Seattle (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 713. Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger meet in an early Sunday afternoon contest at Heinz Field. Seattle enters the contest win a win under their belts, while the Steelers look to resotre some order in the AFC.

Seattle erased a 17-14 halftime deficit in Seattle against the Bengals as the Seahawks and Wilson stormed back to take a 21-20 win in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks. Wilson, despite being sacked four times, threw for 196 yards and a pair of TDs, while Dalton threw for 418 yards in the Pacific Northwest (Dalton also threw a pair of TDs; Dalton was sacked five times, while Wilson was sacked four times, neither man threw an interception). Neither club came close to the 100-yard rushing barrier but Seattle did outrush the Bengals 72-34 and Seattle, who forced three Bengals fumbles, went 4 of 12 on third down tries and kept the ball for 24:10. Cincinnati actually ruled the clock in the loss, keeping the pigskin for 35:50 and went 6 of 15 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

Roethlisberger (276 yards, interception, sack) and the Steelers watched New England raise their Super Bowl sixth banner last Sunday night in Foxboro, then were held to a Chris Boswell field goal in the third quarter as they were manhandled 33-3 at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots led 20-0 at the break, then outscored their guests from the Steel City 13-3 in the last 30 minutes of action. New England rushed for 99 yards in the lopsided win, holding the Steelers to 32 yards on the ground and Brady threw for 341 yards and three TDs without an interception (he was sacked once). New England was 7 of 14 on third down conversions and held the ball for 32:33, while the Dolphins went 27:27 in possession time, going 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth down.

Seattle leads the series 9-8 and the Seahawks have outscored Pittsburgh 318-272. Their last meeting was 2015 in the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks held off Pittsburgh 39-30, while Pittsburgh’s last win came in the Steel City in 2011, as they shut out the Seahawks 24-0. Pittsburgh’s favored by 4 and the over/under is 46 1/2. Seattle will make it close but the Steelers get themselves in the win column at home and could cover the 4.

Indianapolis (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 709. Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts look for their first win of the 2019 campaign as they travel to Music City to face off against Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans in an early AFC South matchup.

Brissett and Indianapolis trailed Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers 17-6 at the intermisson at Dignity Health Sports Park, then connected with WR T.Y. Hilton connect on a 19-yard TD pass with 38 seconds left in regulation before Chargers RB Austin Ekeler scored on a 7-yard run with 5:01 left in the extra period to fall to Philip Rivers and the Chargers 30-24. Indianapolis outrushed the Chargers 203-125 and Colts RB Marlon Mack led all rushers with 174 yards and a TD of his own, while Ekeler ran for 58 yards and the OT game-winner. Rivers threw for 333 yards and three TDs with four sacks and an interception, while Brissett threw for 190 yards and a pair of TDs and a pair of sacks. The Chargers went 7 of 11 on third down tries on the West Coast and kept the ball for 32:50 (including the overtime), while the Colts kept the ball for 32:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

The Titans led Cleveland and Baker Mayfield 12-6 at the half at First Energy Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Browns 31-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming away 43-13 winners along the shores of Lake Erie. The Titans outrushed the Browns 123-102 and made life less than pleasant for Mayfield (285 yards), sacking him five times (once for a safety) and picking him off three times, while Mariota had his way with Cleveland, throwing for 248 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked four times. Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries (Tennessee was 2 of 10, the Browns were 1 of 10; Cleveland was 0 for 2 on fourth down) but the Browns ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:42 to Tennessee’s 29:18.

Including games that were played in Baltimore and Houston when the Titans were known as the Oilers, the Colts lead the series 33-15 and have outscored Tennessee 1,252-940. Indy swept the series last year, taking both wins in Nashville and Indianapolis (Tennessee’s last win in the series came in 2017, when they left Lucas Oil Stadium with a 20-16 win).

The first meeting was week 11 in the Hoosier State and the Colts got three TDs from Andrew Luck and came away with a 38-10 win in the Hoosier State. Leading 24-3 at the half, Indianapolis went on to outpace the Titans 14-7 in the final 30 minutes of action. The Colts outrushed Tennessee 102-87 and Luck threw for 297 yards and the three TDs without a sack or interception, while Mariota threw for 85 yards before being pulled after he was sacked four times and threw an interception. Indy went 5 of 10 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:16, while the Titans were 6 of 14 on third down, keeping the ball for 28:44.

The Colts made it a clean sweep in their second meeting in week 17 in what would be Luck’s final game in an NFL uniform, as the Colts were 33-17 winners at Nissan Stadium. Leading 17-10 at the half, Indianapolis floored the gas in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring Tennessee 16-7. Marlon Mack led all rushers with 119 yards and a TD as the Colts outrushed Tennessee 158-93 (Tennessee’s Derek Henry accounted for all of the Titans’ rushing yardage) and Luck threw for 285 yards and three TDs, despite being sacked once and picked off once, while Blaine Gabbert threw for 165 yards with a TD and a pair of picks. The Colts were 5 of 13 on third down (they did quite well on fourth down, going 1 of 1) and kept the ball for 40:13, while the Titans were 1 of 9 and 0 of 1 on third and fourth down, keeping the ball for 19:47.

In the week 11 contest at Lucas Oil, the Colts were favored by 2 1/2 and covered the spread, winning by 28 and both teams matched the 48 over/under. The Colts were favored by 3 in the Music City and covered, winning by 16 and both teams took care of the 43 1/2 over/under with 50 points. Tennessee’s favored by 3 and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Both of those numbers are reasonable. Titans cover the 3 in the Music City and takes the win at home.

Dallas (1-0) at Washington (0-1), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. Forget the records. These two teams DON’T like each other. Football’s answer to the Capulets vs. the Montagues, dogs vs. cats, Crips vs. Bloods, Hatfields vs. McCoys. See where we’re going with this? NFC East rivals Dallas and Washington meet in Landover in the first of their two meetings. Both clubs played divisional rivals in their season openers, with Dallas coming away with a win at home, while the Redskins blew a lead on the road and took a loss.

Dallas watched Eli Manning (306 yards, sack) and TE Evan Engram take the early lead against Dallas and Dak Prescott (405 yards, four TDs) only to see that lead get away from them as the Cowboys scored 21 points in the first half unchallenged, losing on the road 35-17. Dallas took that 21-7 lead with them to the locker room and kept the Giants in check in the second half. New York did outrush Dallas 151-75 and Sequan Barkley led all rushers with 120 yards for the Giants at AT&T Stadium. The Giants were 2 of 11 on third down (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:42, while Dallas ruled the clock and held the ball for 32:18, while going 6 of 10 on third down.

Washington watched a 20-7 lead at the half last Sunday against NFC East rival Philadelphia get away from them as the Eagles proceeded to outscore the Redskins 25-7 to come away 32-27 winners at Lincoln Financial Field. Wentz threw for 313 yards and no interceptions, while the Eagles outrushed Washington 123-28, with Case Keenum throwing for 380 yards (both men threw three TDs and both were sacked once without an interception). Philadelphia went 11 of 17 on third down tries (the Eagles were 1 for 2 on fourth down) and they would ruled the clock and keep the ball for 34:27, while the Redskins kept the ball for 25:33, going 5 of 13 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas holds a 71-43-2 lead in the series, which includes games that were played in the Cotton Bowl and RFK Stadium and they have outscored Washington 2,709-2,238. The two clubs split their contests last year, each taking wins at home.

Their first meeting was in Landover in week seven and the Redskins held off a late Dallas rally to come away with the 20-17 win at FedEx Field. Washington and Dallas entered the intermission tied at 7-7 and the Redskins would take a 10-7 lead with them to the start of the fourth quarter, where both teams would play even football at that point. Prescott (273 yards, TD, four sacks) would pull the Cowboys to within three with 97 seconds left to make the contest a 3-point affair. Dallas then tried the onside kick and failed, allowing Washington to get the ball back and run out the clock. Washington outrushed Dallas 130-73, with Adrian Peterson leading the way with 99 yards, while Alex Smith threw for 178 yards and a TD without an interception (he was sacked once, Prescott was sacked four times). Washington went 3 of 12 on third down (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 30:55, while the Cowboys, who held the ball for 29:05, went 5 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down.

Dallas would get their revenge at AT&T Stadium in week 12 and just like the first contest, things were close but Prescott and the Cowboys prevailed by a final of 31-23. Dallas led 10-7 at the half and took a 24-13 lead with them to the fourth quarter before Washington would make things closer than Dallas would like as Dustin Hopkins made the contest an eight-point affair with 73 seconds left but Washington would get no closer. Dallas outrushed Washington 146-80 and Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 121 yards ahd a TD, while Prescott threw for 289 yards. For Washington, this time it was Colt McCoy under center, as he threw for 268 yards (McCoy was sacked three times with three interception, Prescott was sacked four times; each QB threw two TDs). In the rematch in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys were 6 of 14 on third down (Dallas was 0 of 1 on fourth down) and they would keep the ball for 33:23, while Washington held on to the football for 26:37, while going 4 of 11 on third down.

Washington was favored by 1 in the week seven contest and covered the spread, winning by 3. The 41 1/2 over/under was untouched as both clubs combined for 37 points. In the week 12 contest, the odds makers liked Dallas as a 7 1/2-point favorite and they barely covered, winning by 8. This time, both teams took care of the over/under (which was 41) by combining for 54 points. The spread? Dallas is favored by 5. The over/under? 46 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense. For Dallas, they want to be 2-0 in the NFC East. For Washington, they want to restore some order. Will Redskins fans be singing “Hail to the Redskins” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins?” Hail sounds better. Washington pulls off the upset at Landover and covers the 5.

Kansas City (1-0) at Oakland (1-0), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 715. As far as rivalries go, these two teams DO NOT like each other. They’re not Facebook friends, they don’t follow each other on Twitter. They meet again. Kansas City and Oakland, two former AFL teams meet on the East side of San Francisco Bay at the Oakland Coliseum. Both teams are coming off wins in their season openers last week.

Mahomes and the Chiefs took Jacksonville to task last Sunday in the Sunshine State and the Chiefs prevailed 40-26 at TIAA Bank Field last Sunday. Leading from start to finish, Kansas City led 23-13 at the break, then proceeded to floor the gas in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win in the Sunshine State. The Chiefs outrushed Jacksonville 113-81, with Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy leading the way with 81 yards. Mahomes threw for 378 yards with three TD tosses to WR Sammy Irvin without a sack or interception, while Jaguar rookie QB Gardner Minshew threw for 275 yards with a pair of TDs but was sacked once and threw an interception. Both Kansas City and Jacksonville went 5 for 10 on third down conversions and the Chiefs ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 31:15 to Jacksonville’s 28:45.

Oakland held off a late Denver rally last Monday night at home to take a 24-16 decision at Oakland Monday night. The Silver and Black led 14-0 at the half before Denver made their first dent on the scoreboard in the third when K Brian McManus kicked a pair of 26-yard field goals in the frame. Denver would pull themselves to within eight with 2:15 when Broncos QB Joe Flacco (269 yards, three sacks) and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 1-yard toss. The Broncos then tried and failed on the onside kick attempt, giving Oakland the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock. Oakland outrushed Denver 98-95 and Flacco threw for 268 yards with three sacks, while Derek Carr threw for 259 yards with a TD and no sacks (both Flacco and Carr did not throw an interception).

Including the games that were played in Dallas (when the Chiefs were known as the Texans), at Swope Field and in Los Angeles, the Chiefs lead the series 63-52-2, they have outscored the Raiders 2,496-2,253 and they have won the last three meetings, including sweeping the two contests they played last year (Oakland’s last win over the Chiefs came in 2017 in Oakland, when they were 31-30 winners).

Round one… week 13 in Oakland. Kansas City led 19-7 at the half at the Coliseum and held off the Silver and Black, coming away 40-33 winners. Kansas City outrushed Oakland 174-171 (Oakland’s Jalen Richard led all rushers with 95 yards) and Mahomes threw for 295 yards with four TDs (two of them to TE Travis Kelce, who caught 12 passes for 168 yards) and no sacks or interceptions, while Carr threw for 285 yards and three TDs (Carr was sacked three times but did not throw an interception). The Chiefs were 6 of 13 on third down but went 1 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:14. As for the Raiders? They were 9 for 12 on third down and ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:46.

Kansas City made it a clean sweep of the series in week 17 at Arrowhead, holding the Raiders to a Daniel Carlson field goal late in the first half to take the 35-3 win. Tyreek Hill had a rushing TD and a TD pass from Mahomes (281 yards, two TDs, interception), even though the Raiders did outrush Kansas City 127-99 with Doug Martin leading all rushers with 100 yards in the contest and Carr threw for 185 yards but was sacked three times and picked off twice. Kansas City went 5 of 9 on third down tries in the Show-Me State (they were 1 of 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 26:04, while the Raiders kept the ball for 33:56, while they went 4 for 10 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down.

While Kansas City was favored by 15 in the week 13 contest, they would only win by 7 but both clubs covered the 55 1/2 over/under, tallying 73 points. In the season finale in the Show-Me State, the Chiefs were favored by 13 1/2 and they obliged the odds makers, covering the spread with their 32-point win. The 38 combined points between Kansas City and Oakland was no match for the 54 over/under in the contest. The Chiefs are favored by 7 1/2 and the over/under’s 53 1/2. They’ll meet again in week 13 in Kansas City but for now, the Raiders would like to get some revenge on their AFC West rivals. Chiefs fans need not worry. Oakland will make it interesting but the Chiefs will prevail on the road, taking the win and covering the 7 1/2.

Chicago (0-1) at Denver (0-1), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of 0-1 teams meet in the Rocky Mountains as Chicago makes their way to Denver to take on the Broncos in a late afternoon contest.

Da Bears dropped their home opener last Thursday night against Green Bay at Soldier Field. After leading 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, Bears fans watched with horror as the Packers took a 7-3 lead with them to the locker room, added a 39-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, then held off a late Chicago rally to take a 10-3 win in the Windy City. The lone TD in the contest came when Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Graham connected on an 8-yard TD toss early in the second quarter after Chicago’s Eddy Pineiro opened the scoring in the contest with a 38-yard field goal late in the first quarter. The contest was nothing to write home about as far as rushing yardage was concerned and neither team breached the 50-yard mark, let alone the 100-yard mark. Green Bay barely outrushed Chicago 47-46 and Rodgers threw for 203 yards with the only TD in the contest, while Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky threw for 228 yards with an interception (both men were sacked five times). Green Bay was a dismal 2 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 31:03, while Chicago would keep the ball for 28:57, going 3 of 15 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs.

Denver seeks its first win of the season after they dropped a 24-16 decision at Oakland Monday night. The Broncos trailed 14-0 at the half and made their first dent on the scoreboard in the third when K Brian McManus kicked a pair of 26-yard field goals in the frame. Denver would pull themselves to within eight with 2:15 when Broncos QB Joe Flacco (269 yards, three sacks) and WR Emmanuel Sanders connected on a 1-yard toss. The Broncos then tried and failed on the onside kick attempt, giving Oakland the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock. Oakland outrushed Denver 98-95 and Flacco threw for 268 yards with three sacks, while Derek Carr threw for 259 yards with a TD and no sacks (both Flacco and Carr did not throw an interception).

While the Broncos lead the series 8-7, Chicago has outscored Denver 291-250 in the series. Denver has won the last two meetings, including a 17-15 win in the Windy City in 2015, while Da Bears’ last win in the series also came in Chicago, as they were 37-34 overtime winners in 2007. Chicago’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. We’re not going to blame you for watching that “Bar Rescue” marathon (Jon Taffer blowing his gasket makes the show, ya think?) Chicago recovers from their loss to Green Bay at Soldier Field last week to take the win and covers the 2 1/2.

New Orleans (1-0) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and 717. They met twice in the Big Easy and split the two meetings, one in the regular season, one in the post-season. New Orleans travels to the West Coast for a late afternoon contest with the defending NFC champs. Both teams were victors in their season openers last week.

New Orleans erased a 14-3 halftime lead by Houston last Monday night as the Saints opened their 2019 campaign with a 30-28 come-from-behind last-second win over the Texans Monday night in the Big Easy. After a scoreless first quarter, the Texans led by 11-point lead at the intermission thanks to a pair of TDs from DeAndre Hopkins and DeSean Watson. The Saints would go on to outscore Houston 27-14 in the last 30 minutes of action, with the game winner coming from K Wil Lutz as time expired. New Orelans set up the game winning drive, getting ball back with 37 seconds left and used a 6-play, 35-yard drive that used all of the 37 seconds remaining in regulation. Houston outrushed New Orleans 180-148 and Waston threw for 268 yards and three TDs with six sacks and an interception, while Drew Brees threw for 370 yards with a sack and an interception. Both teams did well on third down conversions in the Monday night contest (Houston was 7 of 13, the Texans were 1 of 1 on fourth down; New Orleans was 7 of 11) and New Orleans ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:13, while the Texans held on to the pigskin for 29:47.

The Rams led Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers 13-3 at the intermission after a scoreless first quarter, then held off a late Panthers rally as they would pull themselves to within a field goal with 1:58 left in the contest when Alex Armah scored on a one-yard run. The defending NFC champions outrushed Carolina 166-127, with Christian McCafferey leading the way with 128 yards and a pair of TDs, while the Rams were led by Todd Gurley with 97 yards. Newton threw for 239 yards with three sacks and an interception, while Jarred Goff threw for 186 yards with a TD, sack and interception. Carolina was 5 for 11 on third down tries at Bank of America Stadium and kept the ball for 26:44, while the Rams went 9 of 17 on third down (neither club had a fourth down attempt) and kept the ball for 33:16.

Los Angeles leads the lead series 41-33 (which includes contests that were played at old Tulane Stadium and in St. Louis) and the Rams have outscored New Orleans 1,685-1,552. New Orleans’ last regular season win in the series came last year in the Big Easy by a 45-35 final, while the Rams’ last win came in Los Angeles in 2017 by a final of 26-20.

They met twice during the 2018 season and both meetings took place in the Big Easy. Meeting number one in week nine. The Saints led 35-17 at the half, then went on to hold off the Rams 45-35. Brees threw for 346 yards and four TDs, while Goff threw for 391 yards and three TDs (Goff was picked off once, neither man was sacked) for the Rams. New Orleans outrushed the Rams 141-92, with Saints RB Alvina Kamara leading the way with 82 yards and a pair of TDs (Gurley ran for 68 yards with a TD for the Rams. The Rams were 3 of 8 on third down (0 of 2 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:19, while the Saints took control of the ball for 33:41 and went 7 of 12 on third down, 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Their second meeting? The NFC Championship game in New Orleans. The Rams trailed New Orleans 13-10 at the break before they would outscore the Saints 13-10 in regulation, then took matters into their hands as they would take advantage of a Brees’ interception in overtime to win the NFC Championship Game 26-23. New Orleans led by as much as 10 early in the third quarter before the Rams would chip away at the lead and tie things up as Lutz and Rams K Greg Zuerlein traded field goals in regulation.

The contest would be remembered not just for the Brees interception in overtime but for a penalty that was never called in regulation as Saints WR Michael Thomas and Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman collided on a pass attempt by Brees. No penalty was called on the play, which angered Saints fans and head coach Sean Payton. The Saints had to settle for a field goal by Lutz with 1:49 left in regulation. Los Angeles then made their way down the field after the kickoff and used a 9-play, 45-yard drive that would use 1:26 of clock and Zuerlien would tie things up at 23-23. New Orleans got the ball back after that score and knelt it down to send the contest into overtime. The Saints won the toss to start the overtime and got as far as their 34-yard line before Brees was picked off by John Johnson II, stopping whatever hopes the Saints had of going to the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles then took advantage of the New Orleans turnover when they got their chance to possess the ball, using a 5-play, 15-yard drive that used only 2:12 of clock and sending Saints fans home in less than a festive mood when Zuerlein connected on a 52-yard field goal with 11:43 in the OT. Los Angeles outrushed New Orleans 77-48 and Brees threw for 249 yards with a pair of sacks and the interception that ended their Super Bowl hopes, while Goff threw for 297 yards with a TD, sack and interception. The Rams were 6 of 16 on third down tries (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:36 (including the overtime), while the Saints were 6 of 14 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 30:41.

New Orleans covered the 1-point spread at home, winning by 10 in the week nine contest and the 80 combined points was more than enough to cover the 60 1/2 over/under. In the NFC Championship game, the Saints were again the favorite, this time by 3 1/2. The Rams’ three-point overtime win meant that they missed the spread and the 49 points that they would combine for did not come close to the 57 1/2 over/under. The odds makers have the Rams as 2 1/2 point favorites on the West Coast with a 52 1/2 over/under. For the Rams, it’s a chance to prove that they are the NFC champs; for the Saints, it’s revenge. Rams win in Los Angeles and covers the 2 1/2.

Cleveland (0-1) at New York Jets (0-1), 8:15 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Week two ends in the Meadowlands as a pair of teams that are looking for their first win meet at Met Life Stadium as the Browns and Jets, the first teams to play a Monday night game in the history of the NFL, meet in upstate New Jersey.

Tennessee led Cleveland and Baker Mayfield 12-6 at the half at First Energy Stadium, then proceeded to outscore the Browns 31-7 in the final 30 minutes of play, coming away 43-13 winners along the shores of Lake Erie. Tennessee outrushed the Browns 123-102 and made life less than pleasant for Mayfield (285 yards), sacking him five times (once for a safety) and picking him off three times, while Mariota had his way with Cleveland, throwing for 248 yards with three TDs and no interceptions, despite being sacked four times. Neither club did anything to write home about on third down tries (Tennessee was 2 of 10, the Browns were 1 of 10; Cleveland was 0 for 2 on fourth down) but the Browns ruled the clock, keeping the ball for 30:42 to Tennessee’s 29:18.

GangGreen watched Buffalo erase a 16-3 deficit after three quarters of play (they trailed 6-0 at the half) and scored 14 fourth quarter points against Sam Darnold (175 yards, TD, four sacks) unchallenged to escape Met Life Stadium with a 17-16 win. Bills QB Josh Allen (254 yards) used his arm and legs in the final 15 minutes of action, rushing for a 1-yard score early in the fourth and then connecting with WR Josh Brown with three minutes left in regulation to take the win. Buffalo outrushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 128-68, with Bills rookie RB Devin Singletary leading all rushers with 70. Buffalo was 5 of 10 on third down tries (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:59, while the Jets were 32:01 in time of possession, going 7 of 17 and 1 of 2 on third and fourth downs. Darnold will miss Monday’s contest because of a bout of mononucelosis and Trevor Siemian will take his spot.

The Browns lead the series 13-12 and have outscored GangGreen 511-503. They met last year along the shores of Lake Erie and Cleveland picked up their first win in almost two years, taking a 21-17 victory (New York’s last win in the series came in 2017 by a final of 17-14 in Cleveland).

They met in week three along the shores of Lake Erie and Cleveland erased a 14-3 deficit at the break to tie things up at 14-14 going into the finel 15 minutes of play. After Browns RB Carlos Hyde scored from from a yard out and they would go for two, New York reclaimed the lead on a 28-yard field goal by Josh Myers. That lead would not last very long as Cleveland used a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:52 to take the lead back for good when Hyde scored his second TD of the half. Cleveland then held off the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to pick up their first win in almost two years. Cleveland outrushed New York 133-107 with Hyde leading all rushers with 98 yards and the two TDs, Mayfield threw for 201 yards with a sack but did not throw an interception (Darnold threw for 169 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions). GangGreen went 6 of 15 on third down in the Thursday night week three contest (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:08, while Cleveland was 7 of 18 on third down and kept the ball for 30:52.

On Monday night, the Browns are 15-15 and have not played on MNF since 2015, where they played only one contest and took a loss in that, while the Jets are 22-31. They played only one game in 2018 but took a win in that affair. In the very first Monday night contest, which took place on September 21 of 1970, the Jets and Browns met at old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, with the game being televised by ABC (Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Don Meridith were on the mike), the game was a sellout and Cleveland beat Joe Namath and the Jets 31-21 in that conest.

Cleveland covered the 3-point spread in the week three opener on Thursday night, winning by 4. Both clubs combined for 38 points, barely missing the 39 1/2 over/under. The Browns are favored by 3 on the road in upstate New Jersey and the over/under is 45. Both numbers are reasonable. Could history repeat? We think so. Cleveland covers the 3 and takes the Monday night win.

It’s finally here.

No more two-a-days.

No more fighting sweat, bugs, the heat and your teammates.

No more having to sleep in college dorms.

The preseason is over. Done. Kaput.

Sunday and Monday NFL football gets to see the light of day.

Thursday night started the 2019 NFL regular season as Green Bay beat Chicago in the Windy City in the season opener Thursday night, the first of 256 games that will be played between now and the Sunday after Christmas. It’s a 16-game season that lasts 17 weeks. There will be games that will be played in London, starting in week five as well as a game that will take place South of the border in week 11.

16 games. 16 chances for a player to get a weekly paycheck.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is also the 100th anniversary of what we now call the National Football League. There will be celebrations throughout the season and most teams will be wearing their throwback uniforms. All 32 teams will be wearing a special 100th Anniversary patch on the yoke of their jerseys (both home and away).

To help celebrate the NFL’s 100th season, each week will feature an NFL100 Game of the Week. Each game will be a nod to a momentous game played, a fierce rivalry that spans decades, a match-up of original teams and/or a game in which history was made. The NFL designated the Packers-Bears contest as the NFL100 GAME OF THE WEEK for Week 1. In arguably the league’s richest all-time rivalry, the Packers and Bears met for the 199th time, including the postseason, in a series that spans all 10 NFL decades. The franchises first met November 27, 1921, when the eventual NFL champion Chicago Staleys shut out the Packers, 20-0. Combined, the two organizations have accounted for 22 world championships,13 for Green Bay, nine for Chicago (numbers one and two respectively, all-time). The two teams have also combined to put 53 individuals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 28 from the Bears (No. 1 all-time) and 25 from the Packers (Number 2 all-time), with respect to those who spent the majority of their careers with a club.

Welcome to 2019. Expect new teams to earn playoff berths, a few consistent players and clubs to excel again, records to fall and young players to forge ahead as they introduce themselves to our collective excitement. It’s a familiar script, a story that has fueled the league’s popularity for 99 years. The blanks will be filled in come February. What is known this week is that every team holds fast to a dream: Super Bowl LIV in Miami and with history as an indication, every team has a legitimate shot. 31 teams want the Lombardi Trophy and New England has it. They are Golum and the Super Ring is their precious.

THE FIELD IS OPEN: In 2018, two teams – Houston (AFC South) and Chicago (NFC North) – won their divisions after finishing in last place the year before. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.

Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, two clubs have gone “worst to first” en route to a Super Bowl victory – the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Seven teams that missed the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore (10-6), Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Houston (11-5), Indianapolis (10-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) and Seattle (10-6) – earned a playoff berth in 2018.

MOST-EVER SUPER BOWL WINS: The New England Patriots won their sixth Lombardi Trophy last year and begin their quest to break a tie with their Kickoff Weekend opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, for the most-ever Super Bowl victories. The AFC stalwarts clash to open Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC. By winning another title this season, New England would also join Pittsburgh as the only teams to win consecutive Super Bowls on two occasions.

RECORDS WITHIN REACH: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (520) needs 20 touchdown passes and New England quarterback Tom Brady (517) needs 23 to surpass Peyton Manning (539) for the most all-time. Brees (34) also needs two games of four-or-more touchdown passes to eclipse Manning (35) for the most four-touchdown games in NFL annals. Brees (9,783) needs 387 pass attempts to leap Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Farve (10,169) for most on the all-time list. Brady will play his 20th season with the Patriots, tying two Pro Football Hall of Famers, Washington’s Darrell Green and the Rams’ Jackie Slater, for the second-most seasons with one franchise in NFL history. Detroit’s Jason Hanson (21) owns the league record. Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald can become the first player in league history to earn three consecutive AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. With a third overall, Donald would tie J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most all-time. Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore (14,748) needs 522 rushing yards to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15,269) for third on the all-time list. Gore (18,544) also needs 611 yards from scrimmage to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (19,154) for fourth on the all-time list. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (1,303) needs 23 receptions to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second on the NFL’s all-time list. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (1,549) holds the career record. Fitzgerald (9) also needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (10) for second on the NFL’s all-time list of most 1,000-yard seasons. Rice (14) holds the career record.

SUCCESS WITH FIRST-YEAR LEADERS: Seven teams enter this season with a new head coach, Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, Vic Fangio in Denver, Matt LaFleur in Green Bay, Brian Flores in Miami, Adam GASE with the New York Jets and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay. Four rookie head coaches have led their teams to the playoffs over the last two seasons: Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017. Kingsbury, Kitchens, Fangio, LaFleur and Flores are all first-time head coaches in 2019.

FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW PLACES: Several notable players were on the move during the off-season and preseason, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Denver) and Nick Foles (Jacksonville); running backs Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), Mark Ingram (Baltimore), Frank Gore (Buffalo) and LeSean McCoy (Kansas City); wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland), Antonio Brown (Oakland) and DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia) and Kenny Stills (Houston); tight end Jared Cook (New Orleans); tackles Trent Brown (Oakland) and Laremy Tunsil (Houston); guard Rodger Saffold (Tennessee); center Mitch Morse (Buffalo); defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (Seattle), Frank Clark (Kansas City), Jadaveon Clowney (Seattle), Trey Flowers (Detroit) and Cameron Wake (Tennessee); defensive tackles Malik Jackson (Philadelphia) and Gerald McCoy (Carolina); linebackers Kiko Alonso (New Orleans), Dee Ford (San Francisco), Clay Matthews (Los Angeles Rams), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Arizona); cornerbacks Robert Alford (Arizona), Bradley Roby (Houston) and Steven Nelson (Pittsburgh) and safeties Landon Collins (Washington); Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Baltimore) and Eric Weddle (Los Angeles Rams).

YOUNG STARS TAKE THE STAGE: Youth is being served. Last season, seven rookies – New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Seattle punter Michael Dickson, Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, Denver running back Phillip Lindsay, Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson, Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and Cleveland cornerback Denzel Ward – earned Pro Bowl honors.

Last year, 39 players age 25 or younger as of December 31, 2018, were selected to the Pro Bowl. And 16 of those 39 were voted AP All-Pro, including New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, Chicago kick-returner Tarik Cohen, Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett, Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter, New York Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas and the reigning MVP, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Three quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (Number 1 overall, Arizona), Duke’s Daniel Jones (Number 6, New York Giants) and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Number 15, Washington) – were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. At least one rookie quarterback has started a Kickoff Weekend contest in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN WEEK 1

SUPER STARTERS: History indicates that the best way for a team to start its drive toward a Super Bowl championship is to win in Week 1.

The 53 Super Bowl winners have a 43-9-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons. The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots, who host Pittsburgh in their season-opener on Sunday Night Football at 8:20 p.m. on NBC, have won nine of their past 10 home openers played on Kickoff Weekend, the most in the NFL over that span.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982, teams that are victorious in their season-openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:

Of the 602 teams that won openers…311 went to the playoffs (189 won division titles) and of the 601 teams that lost openers…147 went to the playoffs (85 won division titles).

Note: There are a different number of winning and losing teams in season-opening games due to the fact the NFL had 31 teams in each season from 1999-2001, which creates an odd number for the total number of results.

In 2018, three of the four participants in the conference championships – Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and New England – were victorious on Kickoff Weekend, including both Super Bowl teams.

STARTING STREAKS: Some clubs have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff milestones and streaks:

Chicago hosted Green Bay Thursday Night Football to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. Green Bay’s 56 Kickoff Weekend wins are the most all-time and Chicago’s 54 wins rank second. The Packers have won their past four Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFC.

Denver, who will begin the season by visiting AFC West rival Oakland on Monday Night Football at 10:20 p.m. on ESPN, have posted a .672 winning percentage (39-19-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the league. Denver has won its past seven Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

The defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs visit Jacksonville in Week 1 at 1 p.m. on CBS. The Chiefs have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the league’s second-longest active streak.

The defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys host Eli Manning and the New York Giants in an NFC East showdown at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. Dallas and New York face each other on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the last five years. With a winning percentage of .655 (38-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

The Seattle Seahawks, who returned to the playoffs in 2018, host the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:05 p.m. on CBS. Seattle has won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.

The Washington Redskins make their way up I-95 to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the City of Brotherly Love to start the season at 1 p.m. on FOX. Washington has won its past three road openers, the longest active streak in the league.

*From 1920-71, tie games were not included in winning percentage

START ME UP: Some players have excelled in openers. Below is a sampling of notable individual performances on NFL Kickoff Weekend:

New England quarterback Tom Brady has 34 touchdown passes in 16 career Week 1 games and needs one touchdown pass against Pittsburgh Sunday night to surpass Peyton Manning (34) for the second-most touchdown passes in season-opening games in NFL history. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees leads all players with 37 touchdown passes in 17 career Kickoff Weekend games, as New Orleans hosts Houston on Monday Night Football at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN.

Brees, who led all players with 439 passing yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2018, has three career 400-yard passing games in season-opening games, the most by any player in NFL history. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS, who passed for 424 yards in Week 1 last season, and Manning are the only other players with multiple 400-yard passing games on Kickoff Weekend.

Washington running back Adrian Peterson has 999 rushing yards in 12 career season-opening games and needs 1 rushing yard on Sunday against Philadelphia to become the fifth player with at least 1,000 rushing yards in season-opening games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (1,247), Walter Payton (1,067) and Jim Brown (1,043), as well as Edgerrin James (1,062).

Peterson also enters the season with nine career rushing touchdowns on Kickoff Weekend and needs one more to join Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (12), Chuck Muncie (11) and Priest Holmes (10) as the only players in NFL history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in season-opening games.

Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had 147 receiving yards on Kickoff Weekend in 2018 with Tampa Bay, has five career games with at least 100 yards receiving in Week 1, tied for the second-most all-time. With at least 100 receiving yards against Washington on Sunday, Jackson would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin (six) for the most 100-yard receiving games on Kickoff Weekend in NFL history.

START ’EM EARLY: Arizona rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, the number 1 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, is expected to make his first career start against Detroit on Sunday in the desert at 4:25 p.m. on FOX. With a start by Murray, at least one rookie quarterback will have started in Week 1 in 12 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

The rookie quarterbacks to start in Week 1 since 2008:

QUARTERBACK, TEAM (STARTING RECORD AS ROOKIE, SEASON)
Joe Flacco, Baltimore (11-5, 2008)
Matt Ryan, ATLANTA (11-5, 2009)
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (8-7, 2009)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit (2-8, 2010)*
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams (7-9, 2011)*
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (9-7, 2011)
Cam Newton, Carolina (6-10, 2012)*
Robert Griffin III, Washington (9-6, 2012)
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (11-5, 2012)*
Ryan Tannehill, Miami (7-9, 2012)
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland (5-10, 2012)
Russell Wilson, Seattle (11-5, 2013)
E.J. Manuel, Buffalo (4-6, 2013)
Geno Smith, New York Jets (8-8, 2014)
Derek Carr, Oakland (3-13, 2015)
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee (3-13, 2015)
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (6-10, 2016)*
Dak Prescott, Dallas (13-3, 2016)
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (7-9, 2017)
DeShone Kizer, Cleveland (0-15, 2018)
Sam Darnold, New York Jets (4-9, 2019)
Kyler Murray, Arizona (– 2019)*^

*No. 1 overall pick
^Expected to start Week 1

WONDERFUL WILSON: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has 196 career passing touchdowns and 25,624 career passing yards in 112 career games during his eight-year NFL career.

With four passing touchdowns on Sunday at home in the Pacific Northwest against Cincinnati, Wilson can surpass Tom Brady (116 games) to become the fifth-fastest player in league history to reach 200 career passing touchdowns.

The players to reach 200 career passing touchdowns in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 200 PASSING TOUCHDOWNS)
Dan Marino – Miami (89)(HOF)
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay (99)
Peyton Manning – Indianapolis (106)
Brett Favre – Atlanta and Green Bay (107)(HOF)
Tom Brady – New England (116)
Russell Wilson – Seattle (112)*
*Has 196 career touchdown passes

With four touchdown passes, Wilson would also become the first player in league history with at least 200 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns (16) in his first eight seasons.

MOVING ON UP: Washington running back Adrian Peterson enters 2019 with 106 career rushing touchdowns during his 12-year NFL career.

With a rushing touchdown on Sunday at Philadelphia, Peterson can surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM BROWN (106 rushing touchdowns) for the fifth-most rushing touchdowns in league annals.

The players with the most rushing touchdowns in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S)(RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS)
Emmitt Smith – Dallas and Arizona (164)(HOF)
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego and New York Jets (145)(HOF)
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders and Kansas City (123)(HOF)
Walter Payton – Chicago (110) (HOF)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (106)(HOF)
Adrian Peterson – Minnesota, Arizona and Washington (106)*
*Active

RINGING THE BELL: Running back Le’Veon Bell makes his New York Jets debut on Sunday against Buffalo.

Bell, who has 7,996 career scrimmage yards in 62 games, need four scrimmage yards to become the fastest player to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards in league history.

The players to reach 8,000 career scrimmage yards in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 8,000 SCRIMMAGE YARDS)
Eric Dickerson – Los Angeles Rams (64)(HOF)
Edgerrin James – Indianapolis (65)
LaDainian Tomlinson – San Diego (65)(HOF)
Jim Brown – Cleveland (67)(HOF)
Marcus Allen – Los Angeles Raiders (68)(HOF)
Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh and New York Jets (62)*
*Has 7,996 scrimmage yards

DUAL THREAT: New England running back James White enters his sixth NFL season with 19 career receiving touchdowns.

With a receiving touchdown against Pittsburgh Sunday night, White can join Chuck Foreman (23 receiving touchdowns) and Brian Westbrook (23) as the only running backs in league history with at least 20 touchdown receptions in their first six seasons.

The running backs with at least 20 receiving touchdowns in their first six seasons:

PLAYER – TEAM (RECEIVING TDs)
Chuck Foreman – Minnesota (23)
Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia (23)
James White – New England (19)*
*Entering sixth season

700 CLUB: Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones has 698 receptions for 10,731 yards and 51 touchdowns in 111 career games.

Jones needs two receptions on Sunday at Minnesota to become the second-fastest player to reach 700 receptions in NFL history.

The players to reach 700 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER – TEAM(S) (GAMES TO REACH 700 RECEPTIONS)
Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh (111)
Marvin Harrison – Indianapolis (114)(HOF)
Andre Johnson – Houston (120)
Brandon Marshall – Denver, Miami and Chicago (121)
Anquan Boldin – Arizona and Baltimore (123)
Julio Jones – ATLANTA (111)*
*Has 698 receptions

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN 2019: The Carolina Panthers (199-201-1) need one win for 200 as a franchise, including postseason.

The Denver Broncos (499-433-10, .535) need one win for 500 in franchise history, including postseason. Among the original eight AFL franchises that launched in 1960, only the Boston/New England Patriots have reached that milestone.

The Indianapolis Colts need six regular-season wins to reach 300 since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. Since changing their home address from Baltimore to the Hooiser State, the Colts are 294-265-0 (.526) in regular season contests. Since selecting Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL Draft, they’re 206-130-0 (.613), with 15 playoff berths in 21 seasons.

The Minnesota Vikings need two wins to reach 500, including postseason. The Vikings enter 2019 with a 498-426-11 (.539) all-time record.

The New England Patriots need one Super Bowl victory to break a tie with Pittsburgh (six) for most ever.

The Patriots also need:

One Super Bowl victory to join Pittsburgh as the only NFL teams to win consecutive Super Bowls on two occasions. Pittsburgh did it following the 1974-75 and 1978-79 seasons and New England did it after the 2003-04 seasons.

One Super Bowl appearance to join Buffalo as one of only two clubs to ever play in four straight. The Bills reached the Super Bowl to punctuate each of the 1990-93 seasons.

One berth in a conference championship game to tie Pittsburgh’s NFL record, 16. New England enters 2019 tied with San Francisco for second all-time, with 15.

One postseason victory to extend their NFL record, 37. Pittsburgh enters 2019 with 36, second all-time.

One number one seed to match San Francisco and Denver (eight each) for most since playoff seeding began in 1975. New England enters 2019 third with seven such seasons.

Two home playoff wins to match their own 11-game streak from 1996-2008, the second longest in league annals. The Patriots enter 2019 having won nine consecutive postseason tilts in Foxboro. Green Bay (1939-2001) owns the league record, 13.

Three postseason games to become just the third team to reach 60. Entering 2019, only Dallas (63) and Pittsburgh (61) have reached the milestone. The Patriots have 57.

Ten wins to reach 17 consecutive seasons with 10 victories and break a tie with San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the longest streak in league history. The Patriots have won at least 10 games every year since going 9-7 in 2002.

Twelve wins to reach 13 overall seasons with 12 victories and match the number achieved by San Francisco, most in the NFL since the 1970 merger. The Patriots enter 2019 tied with Dallas (12) for second over that span.

Three wins to reach 116 since the start of 2010 and break the Indianapolis Colts’ NFL record for victories in a decade (115, 2000-09) and nine victories to reach 34 winning seasons. Since 1970, only Pittsburgh (36) and Dallas (33) have achieved as many winning seasons.

The Oakland Raiders (491-442-11, .526) need nine wins for 500 in franchise history, including postseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers need two wins to give Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger the third most by a head
coach/quarterback combination in history. The duo enters 2019 with 115 regular-season victories, one behind number 3 Don
Shula/Dan Marino (116), number 1 Bill Belichick/Tom Brady (207) and number 2 Sean Payton/Drew Brees (118) also enter 2019 looking to add to their totals.

Michael Badgley (Los Angeles Chargers) could establish the best field-goal percentage by a player over his first two NFL seasons, with a minimum 25 attempts. Badgley (.938) made 15 of 16 field-goal attempts as a 2018 rookie. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (.919, 68-for-74 from 2012-13) holds the record.

Saquon Barkley (New York Giants) needs 1,972 scrimmage yards to become the third ever to record 4,000 in his first two seasons, joining Eric Dickerson (4,456, 1983-84) and Edgerrin James (4,442, 1999-2000). Barkley enters 2019 with 2,028.

Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland) needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie for the second-most 1,000-yard seasons (five) over his first six years. Lance Alworth (1963-67), Marques Colston (2006-11), Mike Evans (2014-18), A.J. Green (2011-15), Torry Holt (2000-04), Chad Johnson (2002-06), Brandon Marshall (2007-11) and Jerry Rice (1986-90) also did it. Randy Moss (1998-2003) is the only player ever to record 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. Beckham had four-figure seasons in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. Beckham also needs 100 receiving yards in his Browns debut to surpass Julio Jones for second-most receiving yards over his first 60 games. Jones compiled 5,575 from 2011-15. Beckham enters 2019 with 5,476 over his first 59 contests. Lance Alworth (5,907) holds the 60-game record.

Beckham needs three receptions in each of his first two games to surpass Cris Carter’s streak of games with three-plus catches. Carter, who owns the third-longest streak in NFL history, had three catches in 58 straight from December 12, 1993, to October 5, 1997 – all with Minnesota. Reggie Wayne (82, 2009-14) and Antonio Brown (76, 2013-17) are first and second, respectively, on the all-time list. Beckham enters 2019 with a 57-game streak, from October 19, 2014, to December 2, 2018.

Bill Belichick (New England) needs a Super Bowl win to join George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only NFL coaches with six league championships. Belichick also needs One Super Bowl win to capture consecutive league titles for the second time (2003-04) and become just the third coach in history to accomplish that, joining Chuck Noll (1974-75, 1978-79) and Vince Lombardi (1961-62, 1965-67) and eight wins to reach 300 career (regular and postseason) and become just the third coach to achieve that mark, joining Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324). Belichick enters 2019 number 3 on the all-time list with 292.

Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets) needs 2,004 scrimmage yards to reach 10,000 career. He enters 2019 with 7,996 in 62 career games. Bell also needs 340 yards receiving to reach 3,000. He enters 2019 with 2,660 in 62 career games and eight touchdowns to reach 50. He enters 2019 with 42 in 62 career games.

Tom Brady (New England) will play his 20th season with the Patriots, tying Washington’s Darrell Green and the Rams’ Jackie Slater for the second-most seasons with one franchise in NFL history. Detroit’s Jason Hanson (21) owns the league record. Brady also needs: 23 touchdown passes to eclipse No. 1 Peyton Manning (539). Number 2 Drew Brees enters 2019 with 520. Brady enters 2019 number 3 on the all-time list with 517, 35 touchdown passes to reach five such seasons and surpass Peyton Manning (four) for most in NFL history. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers also enter 2019 with four 35-TD seasons and to lead the NFL in touchdown passes to establish an NFL record. Brady enters 2019 having led the league in the category on four occasions, tied with Drew Brees, Len Dawson, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas and Steve Young for most in history, one Pro Bowl invitation to become a 15-time Pro Bowler and surpass four players – all Hall of Famers – for most in history: Tony Gonzalez (14), Peyton Manning (14), Bruce Matthews (14) and Merlin Olsen (14), 1,325 passing yards to surpass number 3 Brett Favre (71,838) and 1,427 to surpass number 2 Peyton Manning (71,940). Drew Brees (74,437) enters 2019 at number 1. Brady (70,514) enters 2019 at number 4.

Drew Brees (New Orleans) needs 20 touchdown passes to surpass number 1 Peyton Manning (539) on the all-time list. Brees enters 2019 with 520, second in NFL history. Brees also needs to throw four touchdowns in two games to eclipse Manning (35) for most four-TD games in NFL annals. Brees (34) enters 2019 number 2 all-time, needing 387 pass attempts to eclipse number 1 Brett Favre (10,169) on the all-time list. Brees enters 2019 number 2 all-time with 9,783, 414 completions to become the first in NFL history to reach 7,000. Brees enters 2019 number 1 with 6,586 and needs 563 passing yards to become the first in NFL history to reach 75,000. Brees enters 2019 number 1 with 74,437.

Antonio Brown (Oakland) needs 1,000 yards receiving to reach that figure in eight career seasons. Over their first 10 years in the league, only Jerry Rice (nine from 1985-94), Randy Moss (eight from 1998-2007), Torry Holt (eight from 2000-07) and Brandon Marshall (eight from 2007-15) have compiled eight 1,000-yard seasons. Brown enters 2019 with seven 1,000-yard campaigns over his first nine years. Brown also needs 104 receptions to surpass number 20 Art Monk (940) on the NFL’s all-time list. Brown enters 2019 with 837 career catches, 28th in league history.

Brown needs 100 receptions to capture sole possession of the NFL record with a seventh 100-catch season. Brown enters 2019 with six such seasons, tied with Brandon Marshall (2007-09, 2012-13 and 2015), 91 receptions to break Marvin Harrison’s NFL record (927, 1996-2005) for most receptions over a player’s first 10 seasons. Brown enters 2019 with 837.

Brown needs 1,200 yards receiving to reach that mark in a seventh consecutive season. Only Jerry Rice (nine from 1988-96), Randy Moss (six from 1998-2003), Torry Holt (six from 2000-05) and Brown (six from 2013-18) have authored streaks of at least six 1,200-yard seasons.

Brown needs 1,500 yards receiving to match Jerry Rice’s NFL record for 1,500-yard seasons, four. Brown enters 2019 with three 1,500-yard seasons and 793 receiving yards for 12,000. Brown would become just the fifth player in NFL history to break that barrier in his first 10 seasons.

Derek Carr (Oakland) needs 370 completions to surpass Peyton Manning (2,128) for most in his first six seasons. Carr enters 2019 with the most completions (1,759) ever over a player’s first five campaigns. Carr also needs 300 completions to join Peyton Manning as the only passers to reach that mark in each of their first six NFL seasons and 3,000 passing yards to join Andy Dalton, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson as the only players to reach that mark in their first six seasons. Carr also needs 20 touchdown passes to join Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks ever to reach that mark in five of their first six seasons.

Pete Carroll (Seattle) needs two wins to reach 100 and become just the fifth active head coach to achieve that mark with his current club. He would join Bill Belichick (255), Mike Tomlin (133), Sean Payton (126) and John Harbaugh (114). Carroll enters 2019 98-60-1 as Seattle’s head coach, including postseason. Overall as an NFL head coach, he’s 132-93-1.

John Denny (Miami) enters 2019 with a franchise-record 224 consecutive games played, the league’s longest active streak.

Aaron Donald (Los Angeles Rams) could become the first player in history to earn three consecutive AP Defensive Player of the Year honors. Donald enters 2019 having captured the last two awards (2017-18) and with a third overall would tie J.J. Watt (2012, 2014-15) and Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most alltime.

Julian Edelman (New England) needs one 100-yard receiving game in the postseason to break a tie with number 2 Michael Irvin (six). Jerry Rice (eight) owns the NFL record. Edelman enters 2019 with six.

Mike Evans (Tampa Bay) needs 1,000 receiving yards to join Randy Moss (1998-2003) as one of two players ever to reach 1,000 in each of their first six NFL seasons. Evans also needs 965 receiving yards to surpass No. 10 Larry Fitzgerald (7,067 from 2004-09) on the NFL’s list of most receiving yards over a player’s first six seasons since 1970. Evans enters 2019 with 6,103 yards in five seasons.

Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona) needs 23 receptions to surpass Tony Gonzalez (1,325) for second on the NFL’s all-time list. Jerry Rice (1,549) holds the career record. Fitzgerald enters 2019 number 3 with 1,303. Fitzgerald also needs 1,000 receiving yards to tie number 2 Randy Moss (10) on the NFL’s all-time list of most 1,000-yard seasons. Jerry Rice holds the career record with 14. Fitzgerald (nine) enters 2019 tied for number 3 with Tim Brown and Terrell Owens.

Melvin Gordon (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 1,300 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns to extend his streak of seasons with those numbers to four. That would tie Marshawn Lynch (2011-14) and Thurman Thomas (1989-92) for the third-longest streak in NFL history. Gordon also needs 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns to extend his league-leading streak of seasons with those numbers to four.

Frank Gore (Buffalo) needs 522 rushing yards to surpass number 3 Barry Sanders (15,269) on the all-time list. Gore enters 2019 at number 4 with 14,748.

Stephen Gostkowski (New England) New England, needs to lead the league in scoring to break a tie with Don Hutson (five) and Gino Cappelletti (five, AFL) for most seasons with that distinction. Gostkowski has paced the NFL five times: 2008, 2012-15.

DeAndre Hopkins (Houston) needs 100 catches, 1,500 receiving yards and 11 TD receptions to join Marvin Harrison (1999, 2001-02) as the only players ever to reach those benchmarks in three NFL seasons. Hopkins eclipsed those three standards in 2015 and 2018.

Desmond King (Los Angeles Chargers) needs to return one interception for a touchdown to become the ninth player in NFL history with a pick-six in each of his first three seasons and the first since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did so from 2008-10.

Jarvis Landry (Cleveland) needs 48 receptions to establish the NFL record for catches over a player’s first six seasons, breaking the mark held by DeAndre Hopkins (528, 2013-18). Landry enters 2019 with 481 receptions over his first five years,
2014-18.

Zack Martin (Dallas) needs a Pro Bowl selection to become one of five offensive linemen ever to secure a Pro Bowl invitation in his first six seasons, joining Lou Creekmur (eight from 1950-57 with Detroit), Jon Morris (seven from 1964-70 with Boston Patriots), Joe Thomas (10 from 2007-16 with Cleveland) and Richmond Webb (seven from 1990-96 with Miami). Martin enters 2019 on a five-year streak (2014-18).

Baker Mayfield (Cleveland) needs a touchdown pass in each of his first 11 starts to break Kurt Warner’s NFL-record string of career-opening starts with a TD pass. The Pro Football Hall of Famer established the mark over his first 23 NFL starts, from 1999-2000. Mayfield enters 2019 with a 13-start streak. Mayfield also needs 23 passing touchdowns to become the seventh ever to reach 50 in his first two seasons. He needs 26 to surpass number 2 David Carr (52, 2015-16) and 42 to surpass No. 1 Dan Marino (68, 1983-84) for most ever over a player’s initial two years. Mayfield threw for 27 as a 2018 rookie.

Christian McCaffery (Carolina) needs 52 receptions to surpass LaDainian Tomlinson (238 from 2001-03) for the most catches by a running back over his first three seasons. McCaffrey enters 2019 with 187 receptions over his first two campaigns.

LeSean McCoy (Buffalo) needs 1,090 rushing yards to surpass Jamal Lewis (10,607), Ricky Watters (10,643), Warrick Dunn (10,967), O.J. Simpson (11,236), Corey Dillon (11,241), John Riggins (11,352), Steven Jackson (11,438) and Fred Taylor (11,695) on the league’s all-time list and move from 25th to 17th. McCoy enters 2019 with 10,606.

Von Miller (Denver) needs two sacks for 100 career. Miller opens the season with 98, while Cameron Wake (98) and J.J. Watt (92) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players.

Cam Newton (Carolina) needs 121 rushing yards to surpass No. 2 Randall Cunningham (4,928) on the league’s career list of rushing yards by a quarterback. Newton enters 2019 with 4,808. Michael Vick (6,109) holds the NFL record.

Bill O’Brien (Houston) needs nine wins to join Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh as the only active head coaches with five winning seasons over their first six years at the reins of an NFL club. O’Brien has guided the Texans to three AFC South titles in his first five years.

Adrian Peterson (Washington) needs 345 yards rushing to surpass number 7 Jerome Bettis. He also needs 367 to surpass number 6 LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and 784 to surpass number Curtis Martin (14,101). Peterson enters 2019 with 13,318, eighth alltime. Peterson also needs one rushing touchdown to surpass number 5 Jim Brown (106) on the all-time list and five to surpass number 4 Walter Payton (110).

Peterson enters 2019 tied with Brown at 106, one game of 200 yards rushing to reach seven career and break O.J. Simpson’s NFL record (six). Peterson enters 2019 with six 200-yard games, tied with Simpson and needs four 100-yard rushing games to surpass number 7 Edgerrin James (57) on the NFL’s all-time list and five to surpass number 6 Jim Brown (58). Peterson enters 2019 at number 8 with 54 100-yard rushing games.

Dak Prescott (Dallas) needs eight victories to become only the sixth quarterback in NFL history to win 40 regular-season games in his first four seasons. Russell Wilson (46), Joe Flacco (44), Matt Ryan (43), Dan Marino (41) and Andy Dalton (40) are the others. Prescott enters 2019 with 32. Prescott also needs five rushing touchdowns to surpass Daunte Culpepper (22) for second-most ever by a quarterback. Cam Newton (33, 2011-14) holds the record. Prescott enters 2019 with 18 and also can eclipse the four-season marks set by Steve Grogan (21), Johnny Lujack (21) and Frankie Albert (20).

Damarious Randall (Cleveland) needs three interceptions to become the first NFL player in 22 years with three INTs in each of his first five seasons. Tom Carter compiled his five-season streak by picking off 21 passes from 1993-97 with Washington and Chicago. Randall enters 2019 having collected 14 interceptions with Green Bay and Cleveland since 2015.

Philip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers) needs 251 pass attempts to surpass number 7 John Elway (7,250) on the all-time list. Rivers enters 2019 with 7,000 career attempts. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (7,168) enters 2019 number 8 on the list. Rivers also needs 344 passing yards to become the eighth in NFL history to reach 55,000. Rivers enters 2019 with 54,656 and needs 26 touchdown passes to become the sixth in NFL history with 400. Rivers enters 2019 with 374, 47 shy of surpassing number 5 Dan Marino (420) on the all-time list, two 300-yard passing games to surpass No. 4 Marino (63). Rivers enters 2019 with 62. Drew Brees (115), Peyton Manning (93) and Tom Brady (87) rank 1-3 on the list entering 2019 and to throw at least three touchdowns in four games to reach 60 three-TD contests. Only six players have thrown for three touchdowns in that many games. Rivers enters 2019 with 56 such efforts.

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) needs four wins to surpass number 6 Dan Marino (147) and five to surpass number 5 John Elway (148) on the all-time list of regular-season victories by a starting quarterback. number 1 Tom Brady (207), number 2 Brett Favre and Peyton Manning (186) and number 4 Drew Brees (155) lead the category entering the year. Roethlisberger begins 2019 with 144 wins as a starting quarterback.

Matt Ryan (Atlanta) needs 3,280 passing yards to become the 10th player ever to reach 50,000. Drew Brees reached 50,000 faster than any player, in his 183rd game. Peyton Manning (191) was second-fastest. Ryan enters 2019 with 46,720 in 174 games.

Matthew Slater (New England) needs one Pro Bowl invitation as a special-teams player to reach eight and break a tie with Steve Tasker (seven, 1987-1990-95) for most in NFL annals. Slater enters 2019 having earned seven Pro Bowl honors (2011-17).

Matthew Stafford (Detroit) needs 1,474 passing yards to reach 40,000. He needs to accomplish that feat within his first nine games to become fastest in NFL history to reach that mark. Matt Ryan holds the record (151 games). Stafford enters 2019 with 38,526 yards in 141 games. Stafford also needs to throw for 3,500 yards and 20 touchdowns to become just the seventh in NFL history to reach those numbers in nine consecutive seasons, joining Drew Brees (14, 2005-present), Peyton Manning (13, 1998-2010), Philip Rivers (11, 2008-present), Tom Brady (10, 2009-present), Brett Favre (nine, 1994-2002) and Matt Ryan (nine, 2010-present).

Aqib Talib (Los Angeles Rams) needs one interception-return touchdown to tie No. 2 Darren Sharper and Charles Woodson (11) and two to tie number 1 Rod Woodson (12) on the all-time list. Talib enters 2019 at number 4 with 10 career.

Michael Thomas (New Orleans) needs 90 receptions to become the only NFL player ever to reach 90 in each of his first four seasons. To date, Thomas (2016-18) and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014-16) are the only players ever to catch 90 passes in each of their first three NFL seasons. Thomas also needs 80 catches to break the NFL record held by Jarvis Landry (400) for most receptions by a player in his first four seasons. Thomas enters 2019 with 321 receptions.

Justin Tucker Baltimore) needs 30 field goals to reach seven seasons with 30 or more and extend his NFL record. He enters 2019 with six such seasons, ahead of David Akers, John Carney, Stephen Gostkowski and Robbie Gould (each with five).

Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis) already the NFL’s all-time leader in field goals made (582), needs 18 more to become the first NFL player to reach 600 career. Vinatieri also needs: 20 field-goal attempts to surpass Morten Andersen (709) for most all-time. He enters 2019 No. 2 on the all-time list, with 690 career attempts. Vinatieri needs one game to surpass Gary Anderson (353) for the second-most games played in NFL history. He enters 2019 tied with Anderson at number 2, with 353. Morten Andersen (382) holds the NFL record.

Cameron Wake (Tennessee) needs two sacks for 100 career. Wake opens the season with 98, while Von Miller (98) and J.J. Watt (92) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players.

J.J. Watt (Houston) could earn a fourth AP Defensive Player of the Year Award. No other player has won more than three. He enters 2019 with three, tied with Lawrence Taylor (1981-82, 1986) for most all-time. Watt also needs eight sacks for 100 career. Entering 2019, only 32 players have reached the milestone. Watt opens the season with 92, while Von Miller and Cameron Wake (each with 98) also are approaching 100. Terrell Suggs (132.5) leads all active players, and needs 15 sacks to tie Reggie White’s NFL record of five 15-sack seasons. Watt hit that plateau in 2012 (20.5), 2014 (20.5), 2015 (17.5) and 2018 (16).

Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay), on the NFL’s list of most passing yards over a player’s first five seasons, needs 3,381 passing yards to eclipse No. 10 Andy Dalton (18,008). Winston enters 2019 with 14,628 passing yards. Winston also needs 22 passing touchdowns to surpass number 10 Matthew Stafford and Johnny Unitas (109) on the NFL’s list of most passing touchdowns over a player’s first five seasons. Winston enters 2019 with 88.

Many NFL owners will be celebrating notable milestones in 2019, including Chicago’s McCaskey Family, who has owned the team since its inception in 1920 and will be enjoying the Bears’ 100th season alongside the league. Dallas’ Jerry Jones will be celebrating his 30th anniversary as an NFL owner, while New England’s Robert Kraft and Philadelphia’s Jefferey Lurie – the recipients of the past two Lombardi Trophies – will each be celebrating their 25th.

PLAYING RULE CHANGES FOR THE 2019 SEASON:

• REVIEWABLE PLAYS EXPANDED: For one year only, reviewable plays in Instant Replay will be expanded to include pass interference, called or not called on the field. Also expands automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul and any Try attempt (extra point or two-point conversion).

• KICKOFF FORMATION: Makes permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented in 2018, which modified rules for a free kick formation and for blocking on a free kick.

• DOUBLE FOULS: Changes the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.

• EXPANDED PROTECTION OF DEFENSELESS PLAYER: It is now a foul if a player initiates a block when his path is toward or parallel to his own end line and makes forcible contact to his opponent with his helmet, forearm or shoulder. This is also referred to as a blindside block.

• SCRIMMAGE KICK: Simplifies the scrimmage-kick rules. If there is a missed field-goal attempt and the ball has not been touched by the receivers beyond the line of scrimmage in the field of play or in the end zone before the ball has touched the ground in the end zone, the following shall apply:

(a) If the spot of the kick was inside the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the 20-yard line; or
(b) If the spot of the kick was from the receivers’ 20-yard line or beyond the receivers’ 20-yard line, it is the receivers’ ball at the spot of the kick.

• FOULS DURING A SCORE: Teams can now elect to enforce an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown either on the succeeding Try (extra point or two-point conversion) or on the succeeding free kick.

• DISQUALIFICATIONS: Allows League personnel to disqualify for both flagrant football and non-football acts, when a flag is related to an act or action.

NEXT MAN UP: Quarterbacks missed a total of 60 games due to injury in 2018, a 46-percent decline from 2017 (111) and approximately 50 percent fewer than the average over the prior three seasons (118).

In 2018, 16 teams had the same quarterback start every game of the regular season, tied for the fourthmost in a single season since the 1970 merger. In five of the past seven seasons, at least half of the teams have had the same quarterback start all 16 games during the regular season, including an NFL-record 20 quarterbacks in 2012.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has started 208 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. With a start in Week 1, Rivers would surpass Peyton Manning (208 consecutive starts, 1998-2011) for the third-most consecutive starts by a quarterback in league history.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has started 147 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in league annals and in 2019, he can become the fifth quarterback in NFL history to start 150 consecutive regular season games.

PATCHWORK: The National Football League will celebrate its 100th season in 2019 with a year-long salute to the unparalleled passion of NFL fans, the many contributions of players, coaches and communities that have helped build the league over the past century. In 2019, teams will wear NFL 100 patches above their team logo on the front of the jersey and each ball will be branded with the NFL 100 logo. Also, each team was given a custom-designed logo to celebrate the league’s 100th season.

Additionally, the NFL will raise awareness for cancer though CRUCIAL CATCH with a decal in Weeks 5, 6 and 7. In Weeks 9, 10 and 11, all teams will wear a camouflage ribbon decal on their helmets to celebrate SALUTE TO SERVICE games.

Several NFL franchises will also be wearing special patches in 2019. Along with the league, the Chicago Bears will celebrate their 100th season, while the Oakland Raiders celebrate their franchise’s 60th season and the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars each celebrate their 25th seasons.

The Green Bay Packers will wear a number 15 decal this season to commemorate the life of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Packers legend, Bart Starr and the Houston Texans will also wear a jersey patch and a helmet decal to honor the franchise’s founder and late owner Bob McNair.

FIRE UP THE TV! NFL fans continue to tune in to the sport they love. Here’s a look at what’s in store on TV in 2019. The regular-season schedule – spanning 17 weeks and 256 games – kicked off Thursday night in the Windy City and
concludes on Sunday, December 29, with 16 division games.

And speaking of division games, one of the richest rivalries in sports history – Packers-Bears – launched the NFL’s 100th season as the annual prime-time kickoff game at Soldier Field Thursday night. New England begins defense of its Super Bowl LIII title in Foxboro on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, September 8, hosting Pittsburgh at 8:20 p.m.

The 50th season of Monday Night Football kicks off September 9 with an ESPN doubleheader, as Houston travels to New Orleans at 7:10 p.m., followed by Denver at Oakland in the nightcap at 10:20 p.m. ESPN will televise one game each Monday night in Weeks 2-16, including the two teams (Cleveland at the New York Jets, September 16 at 8:15 p.m.) that kicked off the longest running television series in American history, in 1970. There will be no Monday night game on the final regular-season weekend (Week 17) to provide more flexibility for the scheduling of the opening weekend of the NFL playoffs.

All 32 clubs are again scheduled for at least one nationally televised Thursday, Sunday or Monday game. Thursday Night Football will air exclusively on NFL Network in Weeks 2-3, while FOX kicks off its Thursday night slate in Week 4. FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night). Those FOX games will be simulcast via NFL Network, distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes and streamed on Amazon Prime Video, beginning with Philadelphia at Green Bay, September 26. All told, NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games (two on Thursday night, two in London and all three in Week 16 on Saturday, December 21), with FOX producing the full slate of 18 games.

A select number of games will be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences. Some of those contests were announced April 17 and other “cross-flexed” games will be decided during the season.

The regular season will conclude with Week 17 on Sunday, December 29. For the 11th consecutive year, all 16 games scheduled for Week 17 are division contests, enhancing the potential for more games with playoff ramifications.

Six 2019 games are rematches of 2018 playoff games. That group includes five match-ups that will be played at the home of the team that had to travel in January: Kansas City at New England (December 8 on, CBS), the Los Angeles Rams at Dallas (December 15 on FOX), Chicago at Philadelphia (November 3 on FOX) and Houston at Indianapolis (October 20 on CBS).

The NFL’s 2019 international slate features four games in London and one in Mexico City. The Oakland Raiders will host the Chicago Bears in Week 5 on Sunday, October 6 at 1 p.m. on FOX, in the inaugural NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. One week later on Sunday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network, also at Tottenham, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will host NFC South rival Carolina, who will be playing their first game in London. London action shifts to Wembley Stadium in Weeks 8 and 9 when the Los Angeles Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals on October 27 at 1 p.m. on CBS, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting AFC South rival Houston, another first-time visitor to London, on November 3 at 9:30 a.m. on NFL Network.

Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium will host a match-up between two AFC West rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers, in Week 11 on Monday Night Football, November 18 at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN. Both teams will be playing in Mexico for the first time.

Thanksgiving will feature a trio of match-ups in Week 13 on Thursday, November 28. The first game will send the Bears to Detroit to face the Lions at 12:30 p.m. on FOX. The late-afternoon game will feature Buffalo visiting Dallas at 4:30 p.m. on CBS. It will be the Bills’ first game on the holiday in 25 years, since a trip to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1994. The Thanksgiving Day festivities conclude with an NFC South showdown as the Falcons host New Orleans on NBC at 8:20 p.m. in the Big Peach.

The NFL’s 32 teams will each play 16 games over 17 weeks. Byes will begin in Week 4 and end in Week 12. The playoffs will include four division winners and two wild cards from each conference. The playoffs begin with Wild Card Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, January 4-5. The two division winners with the best records in each conference will earn first-round byes.

Wild Card Weekend winners join the top two division champions in each conference in the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, January 11-12. The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 19.

The winners meet two weeks later when Miami hosts Super Bowl LIV, on Sunday, February 2 on FOX. The NFL is the only sports league that presents all regular-season and postseason games on free, over-the-air television in local markets and all postseason games are televised nationally. Westwood One will broadcast on radio all NFL prime-time games, the three Thanksgiving Day games and the entire NFL playoffs.

BE FLEXY! In 2006, the NFL implemented a prime-time “flexible scheduling” element on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and in Week 17. In 2014, that was extended so that games between Weeks 5 and 17 could be affected by flex scheduling. However, only two games may be flexed into Sunday Night between Week 5 and 10.

In Week 16, three of five possible match-ups currently listed as TBD will be scheduled for Saturday on NFL Network: Houston at Tampa Bay, Buffalo at New England, Detroit at Denver, Oakland at the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco at the Los Angeles Rams. Start times and Saturday games for Week 16 will be announced no later than following Week 8, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.

For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 29. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17 but an afternoon game with playoff implications could be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality match-ups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into prime-time.

ON THE RADIO: Are the kids hogging the TV? Is the wife watching those gosh-awful Lifetime Sunday Movies AGAIN? Stuck at the in-laws and you want to watch the Falcons? You can listen on the radio. NFL fans can listen to games on the radio in a number of ways – on Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Westwood One remains the official network radio partner of the NFL, its 33rd consecutive season with that distinction.

The Westwood One NFL schedule features 69 national games, including the Thursday night kickoff game, Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, the London Games, the Thanksgiving Day triple-header and the entire postseason, culminating with Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Westwood One also produces weekly specialty programs, including The NFL Today, NFL Preview, NFL Insider, NFL Sunday and NFL Fantasy Football Forecast.

Kevn Harlin and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner will be the lead broadcast crew, calling Monday Night Football and Super Bowl LIV for the network. Jim Gray anchors the pregame and halftime shows. Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli will once again be the broadcast crew for Thursday Night Football, while Kevin Kulger and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor return as the main crew for Sunday Night Football. Scott Graham serves as the studio host for those broadcasts.

In addition to being heard on more than 500 radio stations across the United States, all of Westwood One’s prime-time NFL broadcasts can also be heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, via the TuneIn app and through NFL Game Pass, which is available on NFL.com and the NFL mobile app. For complete information regarding Westwood One’s NFL coverage, including schedules, announcers, highlights, features, interviews and more, log on to westwoodonesports.com.

This year will mark the NFL’s 16th season on SiriusXM. SiriusXM creates and offers commercial-free music, premier sports talk and live events, comedy, news, exclusive talk and entertainment programming.

SiriusXM provides live play-by-play of every NFL game from the preseason through Super Bowl LIV on SiriusXM radios, as well as on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com for its subscribers.

SiriusXM NFL Radio (channel 88 on SiriusXM radios and on the SiriusXM app) offers in-depth radio coverage of the NFL 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. SiriusXM NFL Radio offers a daily lineup of exclusive talk programming hosted by former NFL stars and radio personalities. Subscribers can also get SiriusXM NFL Radio programming on demand, allowing them to listen to their favorite shows when they want them, and giving them more chances to hear exclusive programming like the recent Town Hall broadcast with Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman, training camp tour broadcasts and more. For more information visit siriusxm.com/nflonsxm.

2019 STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

TEAM (WIN PCT., W-L-T) GAMES VS. TEAMS .500 OR BETTER/GAMES VS. 2018 PLAYOFF TEAMS
Oakland (.539, 137-117-2) 9/7
Denver (.537, 136-117 3) 9/7
Jacksonville (.531, 136-120-0) 9/7
Houston .527 135 121 0 9 7
Chicago (.520, 131 121 4) 8 6
Kansas City (.520, 132-122-2) 9/7
ATLANTA (.518, 132-123-1) 9/7
Indianapolis (.518, 132-123-1) 8/5
Tennessee (.514, 131-124-1) 7/7
Minnesota (.512, 130-124-2) 7/7
San Francisco (.510, 129-124-3) 7/6
Arizona (.508, 129-125-2) 7/6
Tampa Bay (.508, 130-126-0) 7/6
Dallas (.504, 128-126-2) 7/6
Green Bay (.504, 128-126-2) 8/6
Carolina (.502, 128-127-1) 7/6
Los Angeles Chargers (.502, 127-126-3) 8/5
Miami (.500, 127-127-2) 8/7
Baltimore (.496, 125-127-4) 7/5
Detroit (.496, 125-127-4) 8/6
Pittsburgh (.496, 126-128-2) 7/7
New Orleans (.488, 125-131-0 7/6
Cleveland (.484, 123-131-2) 8/5
Buffalo (.480, 122-132-2) 7/5
Seattle (.479, 121-132-3) 7/5
Philadelphia (.477, 121-133-2) 6/5
Cincinnati (.473, 119-133-4) 7/5
Los Angeles Rams .473, 120-134-2) 7/6
New England (.473, 120-134-2) 6/5
New York Giants (.473, 120-134-2) 7/6
New York Jets (.473, 120-134-2) 6/5
Washington (.469, 119-135-2) 7/6

COLLECTING THOSE FREQUENT FLYER MILES: All together, teams will travel approximately 632,752 miles during the 2019 season.

The teams in the NFC West (120,670) combine to have the highest total miles traveled of all divisions. The remaining division totals are the AFC West (107,122), NFC South (84,358), AFC South (75,244), AFC North (73,568), NFC North (67,552), NFC East (53,712) and AFC East (50,526).

Seven teams – Oakland (40,188), the Los Angeles Rams 36,186), Seattle (33,216), the Los Angeles Chargers (32,892), San Francisco (30,210), Tampa Bay (27,670) and Jacksonville (25,336) – will “travel around the world” at least once. A trip around the globe is 25,000 miles.

The London Games 2019 schedule begins with the first two NFL games to be staged at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, followed by two at Wembley Stadium, bringing the total number of games played in London since 2007 to 28.

Oakland will host the Chicago Bears on Sunday, October 6 in the inaugural NFL game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the United States. One week later, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be at home against the Carolina Panthers, playing their first game in London.

After a two-week break, the action moves to Wembley Stadium, where the Los Angeles Rams, the defending NFC champions, will host Cincinnati on October 27. The following week, Jacksonville will stage their seventh annual home game in London, taking on another first-time visitor as they take on AFC South Rival Houston.

Below is a list of the total estimated round-trip distance in miles for each team in 2019. Please return your trays to the upright position and thank you for flying NFL Airlines.

TEAM – MILES TO TRAVEL
Oakland – 40,188
Los Angeles Rams – 36,186
Seattle – 33,216
Los Angeles Chargers – 32,892
San Francisco – 30,210
Tampa Bay – 27,670
Jacksonville – 25,336
Carolina – 24,352
Houston – 23,512
Cincinnati – 22,470
Arizona – 21,058
Dallas – 20,922
Miami – 20,554
Chicago – 18,684
Baltimore – 18,072
Pittsburgh – 17,530
Detroit – 17,444
Kansas City – 17,044
Denver – 16,998
New Orleans – 16,712
Green Bay – 16,222
ATLANTA – 15,624
Cleveland – 15,496
Minnesota 15,202
Indianapolis 13,822
Tennessee 12,574
Philadelphia 12,374
New England 11,960
Washington 11,170
Buffalo – 10,158
New York Giants – 9,246
New York Jets – 7,854

OTHER KICKOFF WEEKEND NOTES: Kickoff Weekend began Thursday night in prime-time on NBC when two of the NFL’s oldest franchises renew one of the richest rivalries in sports, as the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field to begin the league’s 100th season.

Below is a sampling of notable active NFL Kickoff streaks:

The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots open their season at home against Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots have won nine of their past 10 home openers on Kickoff Weekend.

• Denver, who begins the season by visiting Oakland on Monday Night Football, have posted a .672 winning percentage (39-19-1) on Kickoff Weekend, the top mark in the league. Denver has won its past seven Kickoff Weekend games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

• The defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs, who travel to Jacksonville to face off against the Jaguars in Week 1, have won their last four Kickoff Weekend games, tied for the league’s second-longest active streak.

• Dak Prescott and the defending NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys host Eli Manning and the New York Giants in a division showdown on Kickoff Weekend. Dallas and New York face each other on Kickoff Weekend for the fourth time in the last five years. With a winning percentage of .655 (38-20-1), the Cowboys own the best Kickoff Weekend winning percentage in the NFC.

• Seattle, who returned to the playoffs in 2018, hosts Cincinnati on Kickoff Weekend. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive home openers, the longest active streak in the league.

• Washington faces NFC East rival Philadelphia on the road in the City of Brotherly Love to start 2019. Washington has won its past three road openers, the longest active streak in the league.

HEAD COACHES: New England’s Bill Belichick is 16-8 (.667) on Kickoff Weekend and his 16 wins are the most among active head coaches…Belichick and Kansas City’s ANDY REID (12-8, .600) are the only active head coaches who have won at least 10 Kickoff Weekend games…Reid has won four consecutive games on Kickoff Weekend, the longest current streak among active head coaches. Dough Pederson (3-0) of the Eagles and Sean McVay (2-0) of the Rams are the only active head coaches with perfect records on Kickoff Weekend…Six head coaches – Denver’s Vic Fangio, Miami’s Brian Flores, Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury, Cleveland’s Freddie Kitchens, Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor – make their Kickoff Weekend debuts in 2019.

HOPE DOES SPRING ETERNAL: New teams making the playoffs and winning divisions, consistent teams excelling once again, records falling and young players making their mark all combined to help shape the story of the 2018 season.

Again, Week 17 came right down to the wire as three playoff spots and three division titles – the AFC North, AFC South and AFC West – were decided on the last day of the season. The excitement of Week 17 was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 2010. Every team enters the 2019 season with a trip to Miami and Super Bowl LIV in mind and below are a few reasons why.

• Two of the eight divisions in 2018 were won by a team that finished in last place in the division the previous season – Houston (AFC South) and Chicago (NFC North). In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, two teams have gone “worst to first” en route to a Super Bowl victory — the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2009 New Orleans Saints.

• Since the NFL adopted the 12-team playoff format in 1990, at least four teams every season have qualified for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason the year before. Seven teams that missed the postseason in 2017 – Baltimore (10-6), Chicago (12-4), Dallas (10-6), Houston (11-5), Indianapolis (10-6), the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) and Seattle (10-6) – accomplished the feat in 2018.

THE TEAMS SINCE 1990 TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS A SEASON AFTER FAILING TO QUALIFY
SEASON – PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS
1990 – 7 (Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles Raiders, Miami, New Orleans, Washington)
1991 – 5 (ATLANTA, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, New York Jets)
1992 – 6 (Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco)
1993 – 5 (Denver, Detroit, Green Bay, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Giants)
1994 – 5 (Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New England, San Diego)
1995 – 4 (ATLANTA, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Philadelphia)
1996 – 5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)
1997 – 5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)
1998 – 5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)
1999 – 7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2000 – 6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)
2001 – 6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)
2002 – 5 (ATLANTA, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)
2003 – 8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)
2004 – 5 (ATLANTA, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)
2005 – 7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)
2006 – 7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2007 – 6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)
2008 – 7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)
2009 – 6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)
2010 – 5 (ATLANTA, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)
2011 – 6 (Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York Giants, San Francisco)
2012 – 4 (Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington)
2013 – 5 (Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego)
2014 – 5 (Arizona, Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh)
2015 – 4 (Houston, Kansas City, Minnesota, Washington)
2016 – 6 (AATLANTA, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York Giants, Oakland)
2017 – 8 (Buffalo, Carolina, Jacksonville, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Tennessee)
2018 – 7 (Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle)

• The New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl title in 2018 and begin their quest to repeat as champions as the race to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for Super Bowl LIV kicks off. Only eight teams have repeated as champions since the first Super Bowl after the 1966 season, with the 2004 Patriots (Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX) being the last team to accomplish the feat.

• Eight teams enter the 2019 season with a new head coach – Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona, Zac Taylor in Cincinnati, Freddie Kitchens in Cleveland, Vic Fangio in Denver, Matt Lafleur in Green Bay, Brian Flores in Miami, Adam Gase with the New York Jets and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay.

• Four rookie head coaches have led their teams to the playoffs over the last two seasons: Matt Nagy (Chicago) and Frank Reich (Indianapolis) in 2018 and Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams) and Sean McDermott (Buffalo) in 2017.

• Three quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (Number 1 overall, Arizona), Duke’s Daniel Jones (Number 6, New York Giants) and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins (Number 15, Washington) – were selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

At least one rookie quarterback has started in Week 1 in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the NFL since at least 1950.

• Several notable players were on the move during the off-season, including quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Denver) and Nick Foles (Jacksonville); running backs Le’Veon Bell (New York Jets), Mark Ingram (Baltimore) and Frank Gore (Buffalo); wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. (Cleveland), Antonio Brown (Oakland) and Golden Tate (New York Giants); tight end Jared Cook (New Orleans); tackle Trent Brown (Oakland); guard Rodger Saffold (Tennessee); center Mitch Morse (Buffalo); defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (Seattle), Frank Clark (Kansas City), Trey Flowers (Detroit) and Cameron Wake (Tennessee); defensive tackles Malik Jackson (Philadelphia) and Gerald McCoy (Carolina); linebackers Dee Ford (San Francisco), Clay Matthews (Los Angeles Rams), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Terrell Suggs (Arizona); cornerbacks Robert Alford (Arizona), Steven Nelson (Pittsburgh) and Bradley Roby (Houston) and safeties Landon Collins (Washington), Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City), Earl Thomas (Baltimore) and Eric Weddle (Los Aneles Rams).

WORST TO FIRST: Competitive balance, one of the hallmarks of the NFL, gives fans hope entering each season. For the 15th time in the past 16 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. In fact, of the 48 teams in league history to go from “worst to first,” 25 of them (52 percent) have done so in the past 16 years (2003-18), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

After finishing in last place in the division in 2017, the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) each turned it around to win their respective divisions last season. The Bears finished with a 12-4 record and an NFC North title after winning nine of their final 10 games and posting the franchise’s best home record (7-1) since the 2005 season. The AFC South champion Texans set a league record for the most consecutive wins following an 0-3 start, rattling off nine straight victories. Houston became the first team to begin a season 0-3 and win a division title since the 1992 San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS TO GO “WORST TO FIRST” SINCE 2003
SEASON – TEAM (RECORD, PRIOR SEASON RECORD)
2003 – Carolina (11-5, 7-9)
2003 – Kansas City (13-3 8-8)*
2004 – ATLANTA (11-5, 5-11)
2004 – San Diego (12-4 4-12)*
2005 – Chicago 11-5, 5-11)
2005 – New York Giants (11-5, 6-10)*
2005 – Tampa Bay (11-5, 5-11)
2006 – Baltimore (13-3, 6-10)*
2006 – New Orleans (10-6, 3-13)
2006 – Philadelphia (10-6, 6-10)
2007 – Tampa Bay (9-7 4-12)
2008 – Miami (11-5 1-15)
2009 – New Orleans (13-3, 8-8)**
2010 – Kansas City (10-6, 4-12)
2011 – Denver (8-8, 4-12)
2011 – Houston (10-6, 6-10)*
2012 – Washington (10-6, 5-11)
2013 – Carolina (12-4, 7-9)*
2015 – Washington (9-7, 4-12)
2016 – Dallas (4-12, 13-3)
2017 – Jacksonville (10-6, 3-13)
2017 – Philadelphia (13-3, 7-9)**
2018 – Chicago (13-3, 5-11)
2018 – Houston (11-5, 4-12)
* Tied for last place
** Won Super Bowl

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

TEAM: W-L-T, PCT.; W-L (CURRENT)
Denver: 39-19-1, .672; 7-4 (W-7)
Dallas: 38-20-1, .655; 17-5 (L-1)
Green Bay: 56-39-3, .589; 5-6 (W-4)
Minnesota: 33-24-1, .579; 5-3 (W-3)
Chicago: 54-40 5 .574; 9-6 (L-5)
New York Giants: 50-39-5, .562; 4-5 L-2
New England: 33-26-0, .559; 10-3 (W-1)
Miami: 29-23-1, .558; 11-5 (W-2)
Detroit: 48-39 2, .552; 10-4 (L-1)
Pittsburgh: 43-36-5, .544; 8-3 T-1)
Los Angeles Chargers: 32-27-0, .542; 6-6 (L-3)
Kansas City: 32-27-0, .542; 7-4 (W-4)
Jacksonville: 13-11-0, .542; 6-5 (W-2)
San Francisco: 37-31-1, .544; 6-3 (L-2)
Houston: 9-8-0, .529; 5-3 (L-2)
ATLANTA: 28-25-0, .528; 5-3 (L-1)
Baltimore: 12-11-0, .522; 5-4 (W-3)
Los Angeles Rams: 42-39-0, .519; 5-6 (W-2)
Tennessee: 30-29-0, .508; 4-3 (L-3)
Indianapolis: 33-33-0 .500; 8-8 (L-5)
Washington: 41-42-4, .494 6-5 (W-1)
New York Jets: 28-31 0, .475; 5-5 (W-1)
Cincinnati: 24-27-0, .471; 4-4 (W-1)
Oakland 27-32-0, .458; 5-6 (L-1)
Philadelphia: 38-46-1, .452; 5-9 (W-3)
Cleveland: 27-38-1, .417; 5-13 (T-1)
Tampa Bay: 18-25-0, .419; 3-5 (W-3)
Carolina: 10-14-0, .417; 3-5 (W-2)
Arizona: 40-56-2, .417; 6-7 (L-3)
Buffalo: 24-35-0, .407; 6-5 (L-1)
Seattle: 16-27-0, .372; 38 (L-2)
New Orleans: 17-35-0, .327; 36 (L-5)

OPENING-GAME RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES
COACH, TEAM (W-L, PCT.)
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia (3-0, 1.000)
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams (2-0, 1.000)
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota (4-1, .800)
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville (3-1, .750)
John Harbaugh Baltimore (8-3, .727)
Bill Belichick New England (16-8, .667)
Adam Gase, New York Jets (2-1, .667)
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh (7-4-1, .625)
Andy Reid, Kansas City (12-8, .600)
Pete Carroll, Seattle (7-6, .538)
Jason Garrett, Dallas (4-4, .500)
Sean McDermott, Buffalo (1-1, .500)
Dan Quinn, Atlanta (2-2, .500)
Ron Rivera, Carolina (4-4, .500)
Sean Payton, New Orleans 5-7 .417)
Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay (2-3, .400)
Bill O’Brien, Houston (2-3, .400)
Jon Gruden, Oakland (4-8, .333)
Jay Gruden, Washington (1-4, .200)
Matt Nagy, Chicago (0-1, .000)
Matt Patricia, Detroit (0-1, .000)
Frank Reich, Indianapolis (0-1, .000)
Mike Vrabel, Tennessee (0-1, .000)
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco (0-2, .000)
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers (0-2, .000)
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants (0-3, .000)
Vic Fangio, Denver (0-0, .000)
Brian Flores, Miami (0-0, .000)
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona (0-0, .000)
Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland (0-0, .000)
Matt LaFleur, Green Bay (0-0, .000)
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati (0-0, .000)

GET OFF TO A STRONG START: Getting off to a strong start is important. Over the past 10 years, seven teams – Denver, New England, Baltimore, Green Bay, Atlanta, Cincinnati and Dallas – have a winning percentage of at least .600 through the season’s first month. Those seven clubs have combined for 44 playoff berths and 10 Super Bowl appearances – including six Super Bowl championships – during that span.

TEAMS WITH THE BEST OPENING-MONTH RECORDS OVER PAST 10 YEARS (2009-18)
TEAM W-L-T, PCT. (PLAYOFF BERTHS-SUPER BOWL BERTHS-SUPER BOWL WINS)
Denver: 23-9-0, .719 (5-2-1)
New England: 24-10-0, .706 (10-5-3)
Baltimore: 23-11-0, .676 (6-1-1)
Green Bay: 22-11-1, .662 (8-1-1)
ATLANTA: 21-13-0, .618 (5-1-0)
Cincinnati: 21-13-0, .618 (6-0-0)
Dallas: 20-13-0, .606 (4-0-0)

In 2018, the four teams to appear on Championship Weekend — Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams, New England and New Orleans — began with a combined 13-3 record during the first month of the season.

Since this is the opening weekend, we’re going to make every game this weekend DRILL WORTHY! (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 59 last June and dates a 43-year old ex-Marine, who’s now the vice principal at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”)

Week one got underway in the Windy City as Green Bay held off the Monsters of the Midway, beating their hated NFC North rivals from the Land of beer, cheese and Bratwurst 10-3 Thursday night and will conclude on Monday night with two Monday night games. As far as last year’s numbers, we were 152-112. Not bad. That was last year, thought. This is a new season. Having said all that, here are Sunday and Monday week one picks!

ATLANTA (7-9) at Minnesota (8-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 710. A pair of teams that just missed the playoffs last year open Sunday’s action in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons travel to the Twin Cities for an early afternoon date with the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota holds a 18-10 lead in the series and the Vikings have outscored Atlanta 657-461. They last met in the Big Peach in 2017 and the Vikings have won the last three meetings and came away with a 14-9 win over the Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium. Atlanta’s last win over the Purple Gang? 2011 in the Big Peach, as the Falcons were 24-14 winners in the old Georgia Dome. The Vikings are favored by 3 1/2 in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the over/under is 47. Both numbers are reasonable but the Vikings best be on upset alert in the Twin Cities. Atlanta wins this one on the road and covers the 4.

Los Angeles Rams (13-3) at Carolina (7-9), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 709. The defending NFC champs travel to the Tar Heel State for a meeting with Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Carolina leads the series 12-8 and have outscored the Rams 405-402 (which includes games that were played when the Rams were in St. Louis from 1995-2015). Carolina has won the last two meetings, with the Panthers coming away 13-10 winners in Los Angeles in 2016, while Los Angeles’ last win over the Panthers came in 2010 in St. Louis by a final of 20-10. The Rams are a 1 1/2-point road favorite in the Tar Heel State and the over/under’s 49 1/2. Rams take the win in the Tar Heel State and covers the 1 1/2.

Tennessee (9-7) at Cleveland (7-8-1), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 705. Marcus Mariota and the Titans travel to the shores of Lake Erie to take a vastly-improved Cleveland Browns team in the Buckeye State. sIncluding games that were played when the Titans were in Houston and they were known as the Oilers, Cleveland leads the series 35-30 and the Browns have outscored Tennessee 1,287-1,266. The two clubs split their last four meetings, each taking wins in their home parks and on the road. The Titans needed overtime along the shores of Lake Erie to take a 12-9 win in 2017, while Cleveland’s last win also came in the Buckeye State by a final of 28-14 in 2015. The odds makers in Vegas like the Browns as a 5 1/2-point favorite and the over/under’s 44 1/2. Browns may not cover but they take the win at home.

Kansas City (12-4) at Jacksonville (5-11), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 706. Kansas City, the defending AFC West champs, travel to the Sunshine State for an early afternoon contest with the Jacksonville Jaguars in north Florida. The series is even with each team taking six wins and the Chiefs have outscored Jacksonville 270-237. The Chiefs have won the last four meetings in the series and came away with a 30-14 win at Arrowhead last year. Jacksonville’s last win in the series came in 2009 in north Florida by a final of 24-21.

The week five meeting in the Show-Me State did not go well for the Jaguars as Kansas City held a 20-0 lead at the half but the Jaguars managed to out score Kansas City 14-10 in the final 30 minutes of play. Kansas City out-rushed Jacksonville 126-101 with Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt leading the way with 87 yards and a rushing TD. Mahomes threw for 313 yards but was picked off twice and sacked once, while Bortles threw for 430 yards and a TD toss to T.J. Yeldon, while being sacked five times and throwing four interceptions. Jacksonville was 7 of 16 on third down (they were 3 of 5 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 27:17, while the Chiefs ruled the clock, holding the pigskin for 32:43, going 4 of 12 on third down tries.

Kansas City covered the 3-point spread, winning by 16 at Arrowhead but neither team reached the 48 1/2 over/under, tallying only 44 points. The Chiefs are favored again, this time by 3 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Jacksonville will make things interesting in the Sunshine State but the Chiefs prevail on the road with the win, although expect Jacksonville to make it closer than 3 1/2.

Baltimore (10-6) at Miami (7-9), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 707. The Ravens, coming off an appearnce in the AFC Wild Card game against the Los Angeles Chargers, make the 1,108-mile trip down I-95 to take on the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Ravens lead the series, 7-6 and Baltimore has outscored Miami 276-203. The Ravens won the last two contests, shutting out Miami 40-0 in Charm City in 2017, while Miami’s last win in the series came in the Sunshine State in 2015 by a final of 15-13. Baltimore’s favored by 6 1/2 on South Beach and the over/under’s 38 1/2. Dolphins may not cover the 6 1/2 but they take care of business in the Sunshine State with the win.

Buffalo (6-10) at New York Jets (4-12), 1 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 708. A pair of AFC East rivals meet in upstate New Jersey as the Bills and Jets, looking to improve on dismal seasons meet at Met Life Stadium. Buffalo leads the Empire State series 61-55 and the Bills have outscored GangGreen 2,436-2,379, which includes contests that were played when the Jets known as Titans prior to 1963 and the teams played their home contests at old War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo and Shea Stadium in New York.

The Bills and Jets split the two meetings last year, each taking road AFC East wins. They met along the Jersey shores in week 10 and the Bills circled the wagons at Met Life Stadium in mid-November, leaving the Meadowlands with a 41-10 win. Buffalo led 31-3 at the half and never looked back, holding GangGreen to an Isaiah Crowell rushing TD in the second half. LeSean McCoy rushed for 113 yards and a pair of TDs for the Bills as Buffalo out-rushed the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! 212-83 while Matt Barkley threw for 232 yards and a pair of TDs (Barkley was sacked once but did not throw an interception). Josh McCown threw for 135 yards for GangGreen with three sacks and a pair of interceptions in the home loss. Buffalo was 8 for 16 on third down (they were perfect in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 39:22, while the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! were dismal on third down tries at Met Life Stadium, going 1 for 12 (they were 2 for 3 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 20:38.

GangGreen would get revenge along the shores of Lake Erie in week 14 (temperature in the week 10 contest? A balmy 46 degrees with a 41 wind chill; in the week 14 contest in upstate New York? 31 degrees with a 22 wind chill) and escaped with a 27-23 win at New Era Stadium. Buffalo led 20-13 at the end of the third quarter (the Bills led 17-13 at the half) before GangGreen would take the lead for keeps with 77 seconds left in the contest when Elijah McGuire scored on a one-yard run. The J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! would hold off a late Buffalo rally and leave upstate New York with the win. Buffalo again out-rushed GangGreen, tallying 176 yards in the contest (Bills QB Josh Allen led all rushers with 101 yards), while holding the J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! to 78. Allen threw for 206 yards but was sacked three times and picked off twice, while Sam Darnold threw for 170 and a TD with an interception. New York was 6 for 13 on third down (they were 1 of 1 on fourth down) and held the ball for 26:13, while the Bills ruled the clock again, keeping the ball for 33:47, going 7 of 14 on third down tries.

In the week 10 contest along the Jersey shore, GangGreen was favored by 7 1/2 and the Bills easily covered the spread, winning by 31 and both clubs took care of the 37 over/under, scoring 51 points. As for the week 14 affair in upstate New York? While the Jets were winners by 3 points, they barely missed the 3 1/2-point spread but both teams covered the 38 1/2 over/under, tallying 50 points. GangGreen’s favored by 2 1/2 and the over/under’s 40 1/2. While this one is not exactly the best game to watch this week, it will at least be entertaining. GangGreen covers the 3 in Jersey and takes the win at Met Life.

Washington (7-9) at Philadelphia (9-7), 1 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 711. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in the City of Brotherly Love as the Redskins take the 129-mile trip up I-95 to take on Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington leads the series 85-77-5 (which includes games that were played in Boston when the Redskins were known as the Braves) and the Eagles have outscored Washington 3,518- 3,308. That’s the good news for Redskins fans. The bad news? The Eagles have won the last four contests that were played in the series, including sweeping last year’s series (Washington’s last win came in the City of Brotherly Love in 2016 by a final of 27-22).

Meeting number one… Philadelphia in week 13. The Eagles, fresh off their Super Bowl win, led Washington 14-13 at the break at Lincoln Financial Field, then floored the gas in the final quarter, scoring 14 points unchallenged to take a 28-13 win. Philadelphia out-rushed Washington 130-104 and Carson Wentz threw for 306 yards with a pair of TDs, while Mark Sanchez threw for 100 yards with a pair of sacks (each was picked off once). Philadelphia was 7 of 13 on third down and ruled the clock, holding on to the ball for 39:19, while Washington kept the pigskin for 20:41 and went 2 for 10 on third down tries.

The Eagles made it a sweep in the season finale at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, putting a nail in Washington’s playoff hopes and scored all 24 of their points unchallenged to shut out the Redskins 24-0. Philadelphia led 10-0 at the intermission and never looked back, using a pair of Nick Foles TD tosses to take the win that would put them back into post-season play. The Eagles held Washington to 21 yards of rushing, while tallying 129 of their own and kept Washington in check on the road. Philadelphia was 8 of 14 on third down (they were successful in their only fourth down try) and kept the ball for 43:19 to Washington’s 16:41, with the Redskins going a dismal 0 for 9 on third down, 2 for 4 on fourth down.

In the week 13 Monday night contest, Philadelphia covered the 6 1/2-point spread, winning by 15 but both clubs missed the 44 over/under by a field goal. The Eagles also covered the spread in the season finale at Landover (6 1/2), winning by 24 but neither club covered the 42 over/under. The boys and girls in Vegas like the Eagles as a 10-point favorite and the over/under is 44. The 44 makes sense. The 10 is a bit steep. Washington fans will either be singing “Hail to the Redskins!” or “Hell, it’s the Redskins!” Eagles fans like the second better. Washington makes it closer than 10 but Eagles win in the City of Brotherly Love.

Indianapolis (10-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (12-4), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 712. Without Andrew Luck under center, the Indianapolis Colts travel to the West Coast to square off against Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers at Stub Hub Centre. Including contest that were played in Baltimore and San Diego, the Chargers lead the series 16-10 and the Bolts have outscored Indianapolis 616-449. Indy won the last meeting in the series, coming away 26-22 winners in the Hoosier State in 2016, while the Chargers’ last win came in San Diego in 2013 by a final of 19-9. The Bolts are a 6 1/2 point favorite on the Left Coast with a 44 1/2 over/under. Both teams went to post-season last year and both look to go back, either as division winners or wild card teams. Chargers cover the 6 1/2 and win at home at Stub Hub.

Cincinnati (6-10) at Seattle (10-6), 4:05 p.m. on CBS and DirecTV 713. It’s chili vs. Salmon as Andy Dalton and Cincinnati make their way to the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks for a late-afternoon contest in the Pacific Northwest for a meeting with Russell Wilson and Seattle. The Bengals hold a 10-9 lead in the series and they have outscored Seattle 415-374. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings in the series, with the Bengals taking a 27-24 overtime win along the banks of the Ohio River in 2015, while Seattle’s last victory was in 2007 in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks by a final of 24-21.

Seattle’s favored by 9 1/2 with a 44 4/2 over/under. Cincinnati will keep the Seahawks in check but Seattle prevails in the land of Grunge, Salmon and Starbucks to take the win.

Detroit (6-10) at Arizona (3-13), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 714. A pair of struggling teams from the 2018 campaign meet in the desert as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions pay a visit to Glendale to face off against number one draft pick Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. Including games that were played in Chicago and St. Louis, when the Cardinals called those cities home and the Lions were in Portsmouth and known as the Spartans, Detroit leads the 33-28 and they have outscored the Desert Angry Birds 1,199-1,088. Detroit has won the last two meetings, including coming away 17-3 winners last year in the desert (Arizona’s last win came in the Motor City in 2015, as the Cardinals left Detroit with a 42-17 win).

After a scoreless first quarter in their week 14 affair at State Farm Stadium, Matt Prater gave the Lions a 3-0 lead that they would take with them to the intermission. After a Darius Slay interception for a TD, Detroit took a 10-0 lead with them to the fourth quarter before the Desert Angry Birds would dent the scoreboard on a Zane Gonzalez field goal, Zach Zenner closed out the scoring with a 1-yard TD run with 4:05 left in the contest.

The Lions out-rushed Arizona 122-61 and Stafford threw for 101 without an interception (he was sacked once), while Josh Rosen threw for 240 yards with three sacks and an interception. Detroit was 4 of 12 on third down and kept the ball for 28:16, while the Desert Angry Birds ruled the clock and kept the pigskin for 31:44, while going 6 of 16 on third down, 0 for 1 on fourth down.

In the week fourteen contest in the desert, Detroit easily covered the 2 1/2-point spread, winning by 14 but the 40 1/2 over/under was untouched as both teams combined for only 20 points. In this meeting in the desert, the Lions are favored by 3 with a 46 1/2 over/under. We wouldn’t blame you one bit if you took a pass on this one and watched that “Mythbusters” marathon on Discovery (there’s nothing more exciting than seeing Buster get blown up!). The Desert Angry Birds prevail in Glendale and cover the 3.

New York Giants (5-11) at Dallas (10-6), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 715. Eli vs. Dak. A pair of NFC East rivals meet in the Lone Star State as the Cowboys host the Giants at Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium). Dallas will have another weapon in their quiver as RB Ezekiel Elliott finally came to terms with the team and came back to Dallas. The Cowboys lead the series 66-45-2 (which includes contests that were played at Yankee Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, the Yale Bowl, Cowboys Stadium and Giants Stadium) and the Cowboys have outscored the Giants 2,554-2,180. Dallas has won the last four meetings in the series with their NFC East rivals (New York’s last win came in the Meadowlands in 2016 by a final of 10-6).

They met in the Lone Star State in week two and the Cowboys came away 20-13 winners on a Sunday night. Dallas led 10-0 at the half but the Giants would make it closer than Cowboys fans wanted as Aldrick Rosas connected on a 38-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. The Giants then tried an onside kick in the hopes of getting the ball back to no avail as Dallas would recover the ball and run out the clock. Dallas out-rushed the Giants 138-35, with Elliot leading all rushers with 78 yards and a rushing TD, while Prescott threw for 160 yards (Manning threw for 279 yards with six sacks; both Manning and Prescott threw a TD pass without an interception). The Giants were 8 of 17 on third down tries (they were 2 of 2 on fourth down) and actually ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 32:12, while the Cowboys were 3 for 10 on third down (1 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 27:48.

They would meet in the Meadowlands in week 17 and while the second contest was closer, the result was the same… Dallas coming out victors, this time rallying to come away 36-35 winners at Met Life Stadium. Dallas led 14-7 at the intermission in upstate New Jersey but saw that lead get away from them as the Giants would lead 35-28 with 2:35 left in regulation, thanks in part to a 38-yard field goal by Rosas. That lead would not last very long as Dallas used a 9-play, 70-yard drive that used 83 seconds of clock and sent Giants fans home sad as The Giants seemed to clinch the game when Dallas receiver Cole Beasley was ruled out of the back of the end zone on a Prescott (387 yards, four TDs) pass on fourth-and-15 with 72 seconds left. But a video review showed that Beasley got his knee down in-bounds and the play was changed from an incomplete pass to a 32-yard touchdown. Prescott then threw the go-ahead two-point conversion to rookie receiver Michael Gallup.

The Giants actually out-rushed Dallas 143-51, with Sequan Barkley leading everyone with 109 yards on the ground and a TD, while Manning threw for 301 yards and a pair of TDs (Manning was sacked once and picked off once, while Prescott was sacked four times but did not throw an interception). Dallas was 11 of 17 on third down tries (they were 2 for 2 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 30:52, while the Giants were 7 of 15 on third down (they went 2 for 3 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 29:08.

Dallas covered the 3-point spread in the Sunday night contest in Arlington, winning by 7 and the 33 combined points meant that the 42 over/under was untouched. In the season finale rematch in the Meadowlands, the Giants were favored by 6 1/2 but Dallas would win by only a single point. The two clubs did manage to take care of the 42 1/2 over/under, tallying 71 points in the contest. In this season opener in the Lone Star State, the Cowboys are favored by 7 and the over/under’s 45 1/2. Both numbers sound reasonable and the Giants have kept things close in the last two meetings with their NFC East rivals. Big Blue will do the same but Dallas prevails at home at Jerry World and takes the win at home.

San Francisco (4-12) at Tampa Bay (5-11), 4:25 p.m. on FOX and DirecTV 716. A pair of struggling NFC teams meet on Florida’s Gulf Coast in a late afternoon contest as Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers lead the series 17-6 and they have outscored Tampa Bay 520-356. They met last year in the Sunshine State (San Francisco’s last win over Tampa Bay came in the Sunshine State in 2013 by a final of 33-14) and the Bucs prevailed at home on Florida’s West Coast, coming away 27-9 winners. In the week 12 contest, Tampa Bay led 13-6 at the half before going on in the final 30 minutes of play to outscore the 49ers 14-3. The 49ers out-rushed Tampa Bay 148-108 with San Francisco RB Matt Breida leading the way with 106 yards on the ground. Nick Mullens threw for 221 yards for the 49ers with a TD pass to Dante Pettis but was sacked four times and picked off twice, while Jameis Winston threw for 312 yards and a pair of TDs (Winston was sacked once but did not throw an interception).

Third down tries? The 49ers were a somewhat dismal 1 of 8 and kept the ball for 25:51, while the Bucs ruled the clock for 34:09 and went 7 of 13 on third down conversions in the Sunshine State. In the week 12 contest, Tampa Bay covered the 3 1/2-point spread, winning by 18 but the 36 points the two teams scored came nowhere near the 55 over/under. The Bucs are favored by 1 1/2 and the over/under’s 50 1/2. Well, if you’re a fan of either team, feel free to watch this one; otherwise, may we suggest the “Mythbusters” special on Discovery? Bucs prevail in the Sunshine State and covers the 1 1/2.

Pittsburgh (9-6-1) at New England (11-5), 8:20 p.m. on NBC. They have 12 Lombardi Trophies between them. Each team has six. The home team wants to make it seven. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers make their way to Foxboro for a Sunday night contest with Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs at Gillette Stadium. For the Steelers, it’s their chance to knock the Pats from their pedestal. As for the Patriots? They want to be king of the NFL mountain and they added another piece to the puzzle by signing WR Antonio Brown after the Raiders cut him loose. Brown will not play this week but will suit up when the Pats head to Miami next week.

Pittsburgh leads the series 15-12 and they have outscored New England 621-584. The two clubs have met the last four seasons and the Steelers avenged a controversial 27-24 loss at home in 2017 to take a 17-10 win at Heinz Field.

The week 15 late afternoon contest saw the Steelers take a 14-7 lead with them to the locker room at the half as both Braby and Roethlisberger threw TDs passes in the first quarter. Rothelisberger would then add a second TD toss in the second quarter as he and WR Antonio Brown connected on a toss that would give them the lead for good with 12:01 left before the break. Chris Boswell and Stephen Gostkowski each traded field goals in the final 30 minutes of play to close out the scoring at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh outrushed New England 158-96 and Steelers RB Jaylen Samuels led all rushers with 142 yards, while Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards with a pair of sacks and a pair of interceptions (Brady threw for 279 yards with a TD, sack and interception). Pittsburgh was 4 of 9 on third down tries and kept the ball for 30:49, while the Patriots were 3 of 10 on third down, 0 of 1 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:11.

Pittsburgh covered the 2 1/2-point spread with the seven-point win at Heinz Field but the 52 over/under was intact, as both clubs merged for 27 points. This time, Brady and the Patriots are favored by 5 1/2 in Foxboro and the over/under’s 49. There is a chance these two could meet in the AFC championship game either at Heinz Field or Gillette Stadium come January. Brady and the Pats raise the championship banner Sunday night and takes the win in upstate Massachusetts, even though the Steelers will make this one closer than the 5 1/2.

Houston (11-5) at New Orleans (13-3), 7:10 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Separated by 348 miles along I-10, J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans travel to the Big Easy for the first of two Monday night contest as the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees play host.

The series is tied at 2-2 and the Texans have outscored New Orleans 90-87. Houston won the last meeting, taking a 24-6 win in 2015 in the Lone Star State, while New Orleans’ last win in the series came in 2011 in the Big Easy by a final of 40-33. On Monday night, the Texans are 5-8 (they won their lone meeting last season in prime-time), while the Saints are 20-22 but won their two Monday night contests last year. New Orleans is favored by 7 in the Big Easy and the over/under’s 53. This could wind up be a somewhat entertaining Monday night contest. Houston pulls the upset in the Big Easy and leaves New Orleans with the win.

Denver (6-10) at Oakland (4-12), 10:20 p.m. Monday night on ESPN. Forget the records. These two AFC West teams don’t like each. Granted, the hate is not as bad as the Raiders and Chiefs but it exists, like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Denver and Oakland close out week one’s action on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in the second Monday night contest of the evening. While things were somewhat calm in Denver, the same could not be said in Oakland as Raiders management first suspended newly-signed WR Antonio Brown, then reinstated him, fined him and eventually gave him his walking papers, allowing New England to grab him.

The Silver and Black lead the series 63-52-2 and the Raiders have outscored their AFC West rivals 2,489-2,394 (which includes contests that took place in Los Angeles from 1982-1994). They split last season’s contests, each taking wins in their home facility.

Denver trailed 12-0 at the break at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in their week two contest, then erased that deficit and came away with the 20-19 come-from-behind win in that first meeting. Trailing 19-17 with 1:58 left in regulation, the Broncos used a 10-play, 62-yard drive that consumed 1:52 of clock and sent Denver fans home happy campers as Brian McManus connected on a 36-yard field goal. McManus, who kicked a 39-yarder and QB Case Keenum (222 yards, TD, sack, interception), running for a score from a yard out, pulled Denver to within one to make the contest close and eventually give Denver the win. Denver outrushed Oakland 168-92 with Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay leading the way with 107 yards, becoming the first undrafted rookie in NFL history with at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first two career games. Derek Carr threw for 288 yards with a TD and a sack, while Marshawn Lynch led Oakland with 65 yards and a rushing TD. Oakland was 3 of 10 on third down (0 for 1 on fourth down) and kept the ball for 32:56, while the Broncos kept the pigskin for 27:04, while going 8 of 16 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Oakland would get their revenge on the Eastern side of San Francisco Bay in week 16 on Christmas Eve, as they would put lumps of coal and switches in Denver’s stocking, taking a 27-14 Monday night win at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Although the Silver and Black led 17-0 at the half, Denver managed to make the contest close in the final 30 minutes of play, outscoring the Raiders 14-10 in that span. Dwayne Harris opened the scoring for the Raiders, returning a punt 99 yards to take the lead and the Raiders would never look back from that. Oakland outrushed Denver in the second contest 114-100, with Raiders RB Doug Martin leading the way with 107 yards and a TD. Carr threw for 167 yards but did not throw an interception, while Keenum threw for 202 yards with a pair of TDs and a pair of interceptions (both Keenum and Carr were sacked once). Oakland was 5 of 13 on third down and held on to the ball for 30:08, while the Broncos were 6 of 14 on third down, 1 of 2 on fourth down and kept the ball for 29:52.

In the week two contest, while Denver was favored by 6, they only came away winning by one and both teams missed the 45 over/under, tallying 39 points. In the Christmas Eve week 16 affair, Oakland was the 2 1/2-point underdog but covered the spread, winnning by 13 but once again, both teams barely missed the over/under of 44 with 41 points.

Denver is 32-40-1 on Monday night and the Broncos went 0 for 2 in their meetings last year under the lights, while the Raiders are 39-29-1, spliting their two meetings in 2018. Oakland’s favored by 2 1/2 in the Monday nightcap on the West Coast and the over/under’s 42 1/2. With all the distractions the Raiders have had during the pre-season with Antonio Brown, it may be hard for them to focus on football and that will be a good thing for Broncos fans. Denver pulls the upset and covers the 2 1/2.